With Memorial Day having just passed, summer is almost underway. If school has not already let out for the year, our children are certainly reaching the peak of anticipation in this final week of classes. Summer break is typically welcomed by all with open arms, but for some families, the break from school brings about a certain worry—food insecurity.
It isn’t something many think about, but our public schools provide our children with the majority of their meals each weekday at lunch and oftentimes breakfast too. The availability of these meals during the school year are a necessity to many families living paycheck-to-paycheck. But what happens when the school doors close during June, July, and August every year?
With the Ohio House’s recent passage of House Bill 80, a school district may permit a summer food service program to use its facilities when it provides summer academic intervention services. This legislation encourages school districts that are financially restrained from offering summer meals to partner with sponsors who can help supply Ohio’s children with healthy food.
This bill aims to increase access to summer meal programs across our state by giving our school districts more options. Throughout the summer months, so many of our children continue with various educational programs, like summer school, but without the guarantee of a well-rounded lunch like they have during the school year. House Bill 80 allows organizations that promote food-security to fill this void.
I was proud to support House Bill 80 as it passed the Ohio House with strong bipartisan support, and I greatly anticipate its passage in the Ohio Senate. This bill takes a practical approach to childhood hunger and aims to prevent the adverse health effects that undernourished children may face during the summer months. With this bill, we can serve more children and take part in keeping our future generations happy and healthy.
State Representative Mike Henne’s office is located at 77 S. High St., Columbus, OH 43215. Phone (614) 644-8051, Fax (614) 719-3590.