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High food and gas prices add further challenges to the organization that helps feed tens of thousands of local children

TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) – Rising prices for everything from food to gasoline are hitting us all and that includes a number of nonprofit organizations.

Connecting Kids to Meals is a real lifeline in our community. The organization helps feed thousands of children every day, and as gas and food prices continue to rise, so does the need for help.

Wendi Huntley is the president of the organization. “One in four children in the region suffers from hunger. Nearly 40% of children in Toledo live in poverty,” said Wendi Huntley, president of the organization.

The organization feeds children at more than 150 sites during the summer months.

“Some sites are daily, others are part of a two-week camp. Others are only Mondays and Wednesdays. Some are breakfast, some are breakfast and lunch while some are dinner. We suggest people visit our website for all the details. We’re also adding a feature this week where you can type in your address and find a location near you,” Huntley said.

Wendi said this year there were several additional layers of economic challenges. “We get some money from the federal government, but not enough to cover all our costs. With rising food prices, this gap is widening every day. There is also the increase in fuel prices. We have delivery vehicles to get the food to the kids, so all of those things are taken care of. »

Wendi adds that sourcing has also been a challenge. “We regularly have food substitutions because we can’t get certain things that we thought we could. We currently make 4,000-5,000 meals a day and want those meals to be the same across our footprint. We work as best as we can. »

It takes a lot of hands to make it all possible, from employees to volunteers. Teens and young adults who are part of a Harbor vocational training program are working this summer.

“They pack meals, clean, load and unload, wash dishes. Everything we need to do, they do,” said Jason Moss, youth employment coach at Harbor.

Jason said it’s work that helps develop important life skills.

“It lays the foundation for their future. Have a boss, log in and out, and show up on time. This makes them accountable and responsible for their daily lives.

Wendi said more help is always needed for this life-changing work.

“For us, it’s bittersweet. Bitter because so many children need help, but sweet because we are helping tens of thousands of children with the program and we have so many people helping us along the way.

If you want to learn more about the work of the organization and how you can get involved, click here.

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Rodney N.

The author Rodney N.