New research reveals fresh bad news about kids going hungry in Cuyahoga County.
According to a report from the Cleveland Foodbank, more than 1 in 4 children come from families too poor to buy enough food yet too rich to get food stamps or qualify for school breakfast and lunch programs — almost 18,000 kids in all. It’s the first study that probes local families stuck in the eligibility donut hole.
“The need is continuing to increase,” says Foodbank spokeswoman Karen Pozna. “Right now we are distributing 25 million meals a year, and to close that gap we would have to serve 55 million a year.”
Part of the problem: Many families don’t know that they qualify for Foodbank help even if they’re turned away for food stamps. But in order to get the word out, the Foodbank is considering adding several full-time employees to man grocery stores and libraries with information and eligibility forms. It’s also looking beyond county borders, where the plight is often far worse: Almost 60 percent of kids in Lake County with too much money for food stamps are going hungry, and another 52 percent in Geauga, according to the study.
“We are making a more concerted effort to partner with agencies in other counties to target where we are seeing the need,” Pozna says.