CINCINNATI -- More than 630,000 children across Ohio live in food insecure households, meaning more than one in four don't know where their next meal will come from, according to the Children's Hunger Alliance.
That's why the organization is expanding its network of after-school snack services to include five local libraries: Avondale, College Hill, Pleasant Ridge, Price Hill and Walnut Hills.
"(For) many of the students who participate in after-school programs, this is the only snack or hot meal they'll receive at the end of the evening," said Maria Santiago of the Children's Hunger Alliance. "So we want to ensure that they do receive that healthy meal and are setup for success with their basic needs."
The snack service program is providing items -- such as milk, fruit, vegetables with dip, oatmeal bars, yogurt, pretzels, string cheese sticks, cereal bars, and muffins -- to the locations along with some shelf-stable snacks to have on hand should there be an unexpected increase in students on any given day.
“We are piloting the service at these five locations in order to assess how well it serves the children in our communities. The goal is to eventually expand the snack program to more sites,” said Kimber L. Fender, the Eva Jane Romaine Coombe Director of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County.
Snacks are delivered to the branches in the afternoon Monday through Friday, except days the library is closed for a holiday. Snacks are for youth 18 years old and under who are present for homework help or another library afterschool program. Service times vary by branch:
Avondale 2:45 to 3:15 p.m. and 4:45 to 5:15 p.m.
College Hill 2:30 to 3 p.m. and 4 to 4:30 p.m.
Pleasant Ridge 3:30 to 4 p.m. 4:30 to 5 p.m.
Price Hill 3 to 3:30 p.m. and 3:30 to 4 p.m.
Walnut Hills 3 to 3:30 p.m. and 3:30 to 4 p.m.
It's not just libraries. The Children's Hunger Alliance provides after-school snacks and meals at 50 locations in Cincinnati, including Cincinnati Recreation Centers and local YMCAs.