There's an effort underway in Ohio to increase the number of low-income kids who get free meals after school, on weekends and during the summer.
During today's Ohio Child Nutrition Summit in Cincinnati representatives from Washington D.C. food programs will explain how they've gotten 75% of kids there to come for free meals during the summer. In Hamilton County, it's just about 10% according to Charlie Kozlesky, Senior Vice President for the Children's Hunger Alliance in Columbus.
"Myself, being a former elementary teacher and elementary principal, we know that a hungry child cannot learn and research basically states that during the summer if children don't have proper nutrition they lose about two to three months of academic gain when they come back to school."
Kozlesky does credit Cincinnati educators, city leaders and food agencies for being aggressive in setting up before and after school nutrition programs, as well as free programs in the summer. Attendees will try to get more kids participating. He says in Hamilton County there are just over 62,000 low income children and about 46,000 get a free lunch. Only 24,000 participate in a school breakfast while in the summer just 5,000 come for meals.