Purpose: To mobilize the community to research, identify, implement, and promote long-term sustainable solutions to the problem of hunger in Hancock County.
The goals are as follows:
1. Support local food programs and providers in their efforts to provide nutritious food to individuals and families in need of food assistance
2. Assure all those in need have access to food assistance programs.
3. Develop and implement long-term plans for food acquisition, storage capacity and distribution capacity.
4. Educate and equip individuals and families to be food secure.
Current Opportunities or Projects:
Cancer Patient Services
• A cancer diagnosis can severely impact the emotional and financial stability of a household. Funds granted to CPS provides Nutrition Therapy to clients in the form of nutritional drinks, puddings and tube feeding liquids. Supplements are not generally covered by traditional health insurance and are expensive at an average cost of $24.08 per case. Nutrition Therapy is vital to improve the cancer patient’s quality of life and provides nutrients that are missing to maintain nutritional health; strengthens the patient; helps the patient’s immune system fight infection; prevents muscle/bone loss; decreases side effects of cancer treatment. In 2015, approximately 1,330 cases of nutritional supplements were served to 250 unique clients.
Christian Clearing House
• Christian Clearing House provides food vouchers up to four times per year to individuals and families in need through their Caring Cupboard program. The value of the voucher is based on household size. Approximately 4,805 individuals (1,848 households) were served in 2015. Vouchers are issued and clients may shop at Great Scot for their grocery items. CCH receives a copy of the client receipt and provides an evaluation of purchases to direct client selections toward more healthful choices. Less than seven percent of all purchases represent unhealthy purchases.
Lutheran Social Services of Findlay
• Lutheran Social Services (LSS) of Findlay provides a three-day supply of emergency food once a month to community members in need. In 2015, LSS relocated and changed their pantry model to a choice food pantry model. Food selections have been enhanced due to this change and clients “shop” with a volunteer in the stock room to make healthful choices they know their family will eat. Approximately 2,900 clients/households were served in 2015.
Ohio State Extension
• 1,289 adults participated in the SNAP Ed programming where 508 were direct classroom participants and 781 adults were indirect participants receiving one-on-one educational lessons complete with distribution of 781 fact sheets, more than 3,000 recipes and 1,200+ food samples used with the food given away at CHOPIN Hall. This number reflects a 31% increase in adult education participation since SNAP Ed became a full time position in May 2014.
• 5,094 youth participated in the SNAP Ed programming where 3,542 youth are direct classroom participants. Schools participating were Lincoln, Jacobs and Northview. Other organizations included Head Start and Homework Central.
• Salvation Army (SA) provides a three to five day emergency supply of food once a month as well as a soup kitchen the last full business week of the month. In 2015, SA served approximately 11,500 people from Hancock County. This type of program allows clients to distribute their limited resources to other areas of need. In a SA survey performed in 2015, 82% of individuals receiving food from SA were able to use the money saved through the receipt of these meals toward rent, utilities and other bills.
West Ohio Food Bank
• West Ohio Food Bank (WOFB) supplies food and grocery-type products to its partner agencies in Hancock County. These agencies include, CHOPIN Hall, Salvation Army and Lutheran Social Services of Findlay. WOFB also works with several agencies and churches to distribute Commodity Supplemental Food Program boxes to eligible seniors. WOFB also provides weekend backpack meals to the Feed-A-Child program in the Findlay City, Cory Rawson and Van Buren school districts. WOFB also provides deeply discounted food for local mobile food pantries. Approximately 698,186 meals (a meal is considered 1.2 pounds of food by the United States Department of Agriculture) were provided to Hancock County or 837,823 pounds of food, at a unit cost of $.31 per meal in 2015.
Community Gardens of Hancock County
• The Community Gardens of Hancock County (GGHC) provides individuals and families who are receiving assistances an opportunity to grow fresh produce in their own plot. Other educational opportunities through the CGHC include: a seed to seedling course, canning and freezing classes, and an opportunity to gain a scholarship when the Master Gardener Volunteer courses are being offered. Those on assistance are given first opportunity to host a plot. Should plots still be available closer to planting season, the gardens are then open to the public on a first-come, first-served basis. In 2015, 50 families maintained 71 plots and fifty-one percent of those were receiving some type of assistance. Garden spots in 2015 were located at 1800 N. Blanchard Street and Brookside Drive. The CGHC are a collaboration of The Findlay Hancock County Community Foundation, Master Gardener Volunteers, Habitat for Humanity, United Way of Hancock County, Ohio State Extension and is maintained by volunteers.
• The Feed-A-Child weekend meals program served 670 children in grades K-5 at Findlay City Schools and Cory Rawson during the 2014-2015 school year. This program, facilitated by the Findlay Family YMCA, provides six easy-to-make meals each Friday during the school year to families identifying a need for supplemental food assistance. The Halt Hunger Initiative designates $75,000 from its funding pool to support this program.
On the Ball to Better Health
With funding from the Halt Hunger Initiative, United Way was able to present a pilot program called “On the Ball to Better Health” to Lincoln Elementary’s fourth grade class. This six-week exercise and nutrition program is designed to educate students to recognize healthful food choices, appropriate portion size and to encourage after-school exercise with the use of a 55cm exercise ball.
Each student received an “On the Ball to Better Health” kit. This kit contained a 55cm exercise ball to take home, an exercise journal, a nutrition journal and a food portion magnet. Nutrition and exercise journals were completed by each participating student and verified by a parent or caregiver and teacher. Bi-weekly incentives were offered to students who completed both the exercise journal and the nutrition journals. These incentives included a water bottle, yo-yo and pedometer. Students wrote an essay at the end of the six-week session about their “On the Ball” experience and submitted this paper for judging. Judges were from United Way of Hancock County, Hancock Public Health, Ohio State Extension and XT Fitness.
Those students who completed all six weeks of the program and submitted their essay were entered in the running for one of the following grand prizes: First place - four passes to Castaway Bay; Second place - $50 gift certificate to Dick’s Sporting Goods; Third place - $25 gift certificate to Shady Grove Miniature Golf.