Browns’ Usama Young Kicks Off Program to Feed Hungry Children in Cleveland Over Winter Break

December 29, 2011 at 12:04 pm | Posted in Press Releases | Leave a comment

Many children in the City of Cleveland who rely on school-based meals are at risk for going hungry during their two-week winter break.

To respond to this immediate crisis in our community, the Jewish Federation of Cleveland, in partnership with the Children’s Hunger Alliance of Northeast Ohio, has organized a first of its kind Winter Break Lunch Program, which is providing free, hot, nutritious lunches for 200 children (ages 1-18) on each of the eight days of the program (totaling 1,600 lunches provided).

To kick-off the program, Cleveland Brown’s defensive back Usama Young visited one of the sites on Tuesday and provided winter coats to each of the children. Young, along with several teammates, including Josh Cribbs, Mike Adams, Buster Skrine, Eric Hagg and Quenton Spears, distributed the new coats, hats and gloves to the very happy children who attended the program. “I am excited to be able to help out and be a part of this. It’s all about improving things for these kids,” said Young.

Lunches are provided at four Cleveland sites, which were carefully selected to reach the highest number of children in need: each site is within two miles of a minimum of ten schools where 60 percent or more of the students rely on school-based meals. (One school has a student population with 100 percent dependence on school-based meals.) The sites participating in the Winter Break Lunch Program are: Golden Ciphers, Harvard Community Services Center, Nueva Luz and St. Malachi Center.

Along with the lunches, children will receive new winter clothing items and holiday gifts, and will be entertained with a variety of recreational activities.

According to Children’s Hunger Alliance Vice President of Regional Operations Debra Parmer: “One in four children in the City of Cleveland experience food insecurity—living with the constant fear of hunger. “ “This partnership enables us to reach hunger-vulnerable children during this especially difficult time in many of their lives, and provide not only nutritious hot lunches, but also warm clothing and enriching entertainment to brighten their days during the holiday season,” added Parmer.

Marci Moses, the Jewish Federation’s Winter Break Lunch Program Project Co-chair is an ardent believer in the need to make a difference now: “As Jews, we are focused on improving the world for all people. Every year at our Passover Seders, we recite, ‘Let all who are hungry come and eat.’ We take these words very seriously and believe it is our obligation to make sure that fewer children in our community go hungry.”

In this spirit, Roetzel & Andress and Fifth Third Bank have generously sponsored the program. Additionally, Roetzel & Andress employees raised money to purchase winter socks, hats and gloves for each child who comes for lunch.

This is not the first time that the Jewish Federation and Children’s Hunger Alliance have partnered to find innovative ways to help alleviate hunger in our community and raise awareness of this crisis facing so many everyday. Since 2009, the Federation’s Jewish Volunteer Network (JVN) has worked with Children’s Hunger Alliance to deploy the hundreds of JVN volunteers to Cleveland Public Library sites for the Summer Lunch Program. The program, sponsored by the City of Cleveland Department of Public Works, provides lunches to children reliant on free or reduced-fee school meals who end up going without these resources during the summer months when school is not in session.

This past month, Federation and Children’s Hunger Alliance staff and volunteers teamed up with community members to take the Food Stamp Challenge (organized nationally by Fighting Poverty with Faith and co-chaired by the Jewish Council for Public Affairs and National Council of Churches and Charities and includes over 50 national faith group partners), to better understand living on the average weekly food stamp budget of $31.50, and raise awareness of the need for the SNAP Program (formerly known as Food Stamps).

For more information about ways you can get involved, contact JVN Director Karen Steiger at ksteiger@jcfcleve.org or 216.593.2900, ext. 130.

PROGRAM CO-CHAIRS

Marci Moses and Eliana LeVine, Jewish Federation of Cleveland

PROGRAM SPONSORS

  • Roetzel & Andress
  • Fifth Third Bank

— Jewish Federation of Cleveland —

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