Currently in 2016...
- approximately 17% of the population in Mahoning County lack adequate access to food and are considered food insecure
- a staggering 29% of children under the age of 18 are living in poverty
- 43% of children in Mahoning County live in a household headed by a single parent
Outside of the meals the school provides, many children don't receive adequate nutrition in their homes. Every Friday at school more than 300 Mahoning Valley children receive a backpack full of food from the Big Reach Center of Hope. This backpack includes a variety of items like granola bars, fruit, crackers, etc., that children can easily fix for themselves on the weekend.
One local teacher called the Big Reach Center of Hope about a chronically hungry student. On Mondays this student's energy level was low, the student was unfocused and depressed. But when the student started receiving a backpack every Friday, Mondays changed for her. Her teacher tells us she has more energy and can better focus on her schoolwork because her need for nutrition has been met.
If you are a teacher or school administrator and can identify a child who would benefit from this program, please email us or download the information form here.