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Middletown "Middie Meal Machine"

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VietVet View Drop Down
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Joined: May 15 2008
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    Posted: Mar 30 2019 at 11:42am
Journal story concerning the school district feeding kids during non school months.....

BUTLER, WARREN —
Many area school districts are going to historic lengths to bring nutritional meals into the communities where some of their poorer students live.

Now that battle against hunger has gone mobile.Last week saw Middletown Schools unveil the district’s first food truck, part of a $225,000 program to feed the district’s needy students by going to them on non-school days. The giant, brightly colored truck will travel to some of Middletown’s low-income communities this summer to deliver free lunches to children and teens who during the school year depend on such meals from their school cafeterias.Hungry and malnourished students can’t pay attention as well, and over time they are prone to lagging behind developmentally and physically, studies have shown.In Butler County, Middletown and New Miami Schools have 100 percent of its student population eligible for free school meals in 2018 with Hamilton Schools showing 68 percent of its enrollment listed as poor enough to qualify, according to the Ohio Department of Education.

Among Butler and Warren County school systems, Mason Schools has the lowest percentage of meal-eligible students at 9 percent.Ohio is one of the most food insecure states in the nation, according to 2017 national report.
About 16 percent of Ohio households have low or very low food security, according to data published in September by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service.Middletown joins Lakota and Hamilton schools in using mobile units to transport meals where low-income students live during school breaks.VIDEO & STORY: Lakota Schools reach hungry students on summer break with food buses All Ohio school districts offer federally subsidized free and reduced cost meals to financial eligible students during the school year.“The daily breakfast and lunch meals provided by Hamilton Schools may be the only complete and balanced meals some students receive in a day,” said Cinde Gorbandt, senior director of dining services.“Due to family finances, or not having a parent at home to cook, many students may not have access to a hot meal while school is on break.”Officials said the meal programs help students stay connected in the classroom.“If a child is hungry, they are not going to feel ready to learn,” said Holli Morrish, spokesperson for Talawanda schools, which has about a third of its enrollment poor enough to qualify for free school meals.Pam Pratt, spokesperson for Edgewood Schools — where in 2018, 36 percent of its enrollment could partake of free school meals — echoed that.“Providing sufficient nutrition is so important for a student’s growth and development (and) when you reduce a child’s anxiety about basic necessities, such as where and when they will receive their next meal, they are able to focus on learning which influences the quality of their education,” Pratt said.MORE: Hamilton Schools unveil district’s first food truck to feed needy students during summer break In Butler County, nearly one in seven families are food insecure, meaning these families experience lack access, at times, to enough food, according to a 2017 report from the YMCA,.Warren County’s Kings schools is a long-time leader in making sure its students are fed over the weekends of a school year. The district, which reported 17 percent of its students eligible for free school meals in 2018, started a “power pack” food stuff program in 2010 that has since been adopted by many other area school systems.Each school week, volunteer high school students pack nutritional meals, snacks and beverages for distribution to low-income students on Fridays to last them through the weekend.The food bags are then delivered to students’ lockers during Friday classes, when the hallways are empty, so those students don’t draw attention. Or they are dropped off at the front of closed classroom doors so teachers can quietly hand them to students before they leave for home.“Food insecurity puts tremendous stress on families, so we do our best to identify students who may be well-fed during the week at school, but the weekends can prove particularly daunting,” said Kings spokesperson Dawn Gould.“The Kings district is very aware that hunger negatively impacts a student’s academic performance. “We do our best to ensure that the process is equitable.”Meal distribution through deliveries is the goal of Lakota’s mobile lunch program during summer break. Lakota officials map communities with the largest groupings of low-income households.“Last year, we averaged 273 meals per day for a total of 13,320 meals over a 50-day period during summer break,” said Betsy Fuller, spokesperson for Lakota.Middletown’s new food truck, adorned with “Middie Meal Machine” and the district’s logo purple represents the latest reform tried by the largely low-income school districts.

“We are so excited the Middie Meal Machine is finally here,” said Middletown Schools Superintendent Marlon Styles Jr.“We’ve been modernizing our approach to reaching students and teaching healthy habits. The Middie Meal Machine showcases the district’s commitment to provide all students with what they need to be successful.”

Sounds like a great program for the kids. Now, I have some questions to consider......

1. Should the Middletown school district offer a social program like this when we have agencies in Hamilton at the county level that should probably administer and absorb the cost of this?

2. How much did this food truck cost? How long has this been active? Was it paid for by the taxpayers? Was the money to pay for this part of a levy in the past and if so, why wasn't it mentioned when we all voted for that levy? Seems to me that if the taxpayer is going the pay for this non-school time program, it should not be paid for using a school related funding levy, but rather, be a totally separate levy presented to the voters. We should have had a say in the matter IMO.

3. Where does the food come from and is the taxpayer paying not only for the food truck but the food as well? How much are the families of the kids using this program required to pay toward feeding their kids?

4. With low income families receiving Food Stamps, WIC and other freebie social services, why can't the families put food on the table for their kids using the services provided? How are they eating if they can't feed their kids? Seems they are receiving state and fed taxpayer money through low income programs AND benefiting from this type of taxpayer supplied service as well. Isn't that overkill as to benefiting these parents? What are the parents part in contributing to feeding their own kids? How much are they expected to provide toward the kids they voluntarily had?

Might seem "insensitive" to ask these questions in today's kinder/gentle/how could you be so cruel/stop being "so mean"/try to make people feel guilty bullcrap we live through each day, but asking the questions as to how our money is being used and who is responsible for what, is, IMO, not out of line here. If the taxpayer's are paying for the ride, I believe they have a right to ask the specifics of the cost. JMO
I'm so proud of my hometown and what it has become. Recall 'em all. Let's start over.
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middiemom View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote middiemom Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr 01 2019 at 8:02pm
For once, I agree with Vet. The summer meal program is a HUGE waste of $$$. Every summer my mother takes the grand kids to get “free” lunches. They don’t receive any government assistance and don’t need it. You wouldn’t believe the food/juice boxes/ fruit they come home with. Plastic grocery Bags and bags of stuff every time. I hope there is more over sight. I too would like your questions answered, Vet. Valid concerns. I challenge any one of you to go to one of these and see what goes on. MADDENING!
Middletown... Bright past BRIGHTER FUTURE!!!
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buddhalite View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote buddhalite Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr 02 2019 at 9:58am
I've only seen one instance in the last 5 years where I knew of a kid who was hungry.  It was an abusive situation and it was handled.

I thought (from all the media hype out there) that all our kids were sedentary and on the verge of obesity?

Which is it?  Either the kids are obese or they are hungry - figure it out.

Furthermore - when our society took the feeding of the hungry and needy out of the hands of our churches - that's when the entitlement mentality began to take hold.  Instead of a true measure of someone's ability/wealth and blessing them accordingly...we turned it over to the government.  The government just throws money at problems and only makes them worse.

The government style welfare has evolved now into melees at food pantries, fist-fights at soup kitchens and better yet the illegal sale of government benefits.  Between Sec. 8, food stamps, wic, medicaid, TANF, housing assistance, SSI, earned income credit and more...I'm confused as to how anyone can be hungry (this is of course disavowing any horrific life choices people make) in today's world.

Yet - it exists.  I know a school teacher who packs two lunches everyday - one for himself, one for a student who lives in a home with no food, no water, leaking roof and probably more horrific than we can imagine.  This is the reason we do it.

Could it be done better?  Sure - but not until true means testing is completed.  Not until the truly needy are separated from the truly greedy.  Why is it so hard for people to give up benefits?  Oh yeah - the government calls them 'benefits' - because here's a great example....

A family of four under low income can get just shy of $700 in food stamps EACH MONTH!  I spend most of my grocery dollar at Aldi, buying store label products and meats that are almost out of date on clearance to feed my family...while a food stamp family can shop at Kroger, buy name brand items and purchase foods I can't afford.

Way too hard to give up a 'benefit' like that.  Furthermore - I've NEVER spent that kind of grocery money in any given month!  What are we thinking?
"Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it."—Henry David Thoreau
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middiemom View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote middiemom Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Apr 03 2019 at 12:17am
Bob 🙌🏻
Middletown... Bright past BRIGHTER FUTURE!!!
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