The Freestore Foodbank sees the daily struggles of childhood hunger, and the number of children who often go without food is distressing. Statistics indicate that more than 30% of Cincinnati and northern Kentucky children live in poverty. That translates to approximately more than 30,000 children, grades K- 8, in our area who are at risk of hunger. In Cincinnati, Covington, and Newport Public Schools, there are over 40 schools with at least 85% of students participating in the national free or reduced-cost breakfast and school lunch program, according to Ohio and Kentucky Departments of Education. While children may eat during school hours through these programs, many do not have enough food in the evenings and over the weekend. When children do not have proper nutrition, they are not able to learn. Research has shown that insufficient nutrition has devastating effects on childhood development.
Implications of Childhood Hunger
- Physical health is compromised through a weakened immune system, putting children at risk for illness, infection and hospitalization.
- Behavior / mental health is challenged, including difficulty with cognition and social interaction, often associated with aggression, absenteeism and grade repetition.
- Slow development in speaking and behavior is prevalent, which can lead to later problems with attention, learning, and social interaction.
- Lack of school readiness is recorded, showing hungry children are likely to be behind in academic development, particularly in reading and mathematics, compared to other children who have enough food to eat.
How We Help
To help fight childhood hunger, the Freestore Foodbank provides the Power Pack and Kids Cafe programs to ensure that as many children as possible have enough food to eat when not at school.