11/20/20: Guest column: A COVID-19 crisis looms in Ohio without more federal help (View)

"Charity and philanthropy will continue to do everything we can during and in the wake of this prolonged crisis because that is our duty and our calling. But Congress is the only body with the ability and legislative power to provide necessary relief to hurting Ohioans and Americans."

11/18/20: Ohio hunger stats underscore need for COVID relief bill (View)

The nonprofit group Feeding America has projected overall food insecurity in Ohio for 2020 tops 18%. Joree Novotny, director of external affairs for the Ohio Association of Foodbanks, said that's unprecedented. "Food insecurity estimates for 2020 are scary," she said. "They're not like anything that we've seen in any modern times. We peaked in 2014 at a little under 17%. Prior to COVID 19, we were finally under the 14% mark, and COVID 19 has caused that to skyrocket."

11/17/20: Agencies helping the poor fear a dreadful new year (View)

“Philanthropy can’t answer the moment — certainly not on its own,” said Joree Novotny, spokeswoman for the Ohio Association of Foodbanks. “We’re going to do the best we can, but we’re really worried about what January looks like.” In addition to the imminent loss of federal covid-relief funds, Ohio’s food banks also face the loss next month of the Ohio National Guard, which has been praised as an invaluable help at facilities facing unprecedented demand for their services. Also, the latest round of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farmers to Families Food Box Program is slated to end on Dec. 31.

09/21/20: During coronavirus, food insecurity, poverty spiking - and it's getting worse (View)

Three leading poverty economists this month published a paper with the National Bureau of Economic Research saying that rates of food insecurity have nearly tripled during the pandemic despite federal relief assistance.

09/18/20: Ohio National Guard continues to assist foodbank locations (View)

"For the past six months, an extraordinary group of men and women have sacrificed each day to serve their neighbors and friends struggling to access and afford food amid the pandemic,” said Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, executive director, Ohio Association of Foodbanks. “We are so deeply thankful that the Ohio National Guard will extend its support of this mission for the next three months as we plan together for what's to come in 2021.” 

09/07/20: Guest Column: Hunger Action Month in 2020 has taken on new urgency (View)

September is Hunger Action Month and, in 2020, it arrives with unparalleled urgency. For families facing the threat of hunger, the debilitating reality that they might not be able to put adequate, nutritious food on the table because the money isn’t there and the rent is due — every day is a matter of urgency.

08/21/20: Without federal unemployment benefit, hunger said to be looming (View)

“We’re all feeling the pressure right now because of the loss of the $600-a-week pandemic unemployment assistance,” Hamler-Fugitt said. “That’s been a lifeline for a lot of people who thought they were temporarily laid off and a lot of temporary furloughs and layoffs have now been turned permanent.”

08/10/20: Food stamp recipients increase; officials fear they'll skyrocket (View)

“Needless to say, SNAP is not funded sufficiently to even begin to make up for the loss of wages or unemployment benefits families are experiencing,” Joree Novotny, spokesperson for the Ohio Association of Foodbanks, said. “And while SNAP is our most critical line of defense against hunger, it cannot pay the rent or mortgage or even buy diapers.”

03/11/20: Commentary: COVID-19 situation highlights unreliable hours, benefits and paid time off for Ohio workers (View)

"Policymakers and employers: whether in the face of an illness we already know or a new virus we hope to avoid, no one should have to choose between going to work sick or losing the wages they need to put food on the table." 

03/10/20: Local food pantries among 149 in Ohio to receive part of $500,000 grant (View)

“Across the state, our member charities are in dire need of reliable equipment to store and distribute millions of pounds of fresh produce, protein and dairy items to our state’s most vulnerable residents,” said Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, executive director of the Ohio Association of Foodbanks. “We are grateful to Governor DeWine and members of the Ohio General Assembly for recognizing this need to equip our network with resources and tools to better serve our clients with the items most often requested – fresh, nutritious foods.”

02/05/20: School lunch program still serving 4 in 10 Ohio students (View)

“The folks at the top are doing fine, but the economic recovery has bypassed most middle-class families,” said Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, executive director of the Ohio Association of Foodbanks. The number of students qualifying for the lunch program is widely considered to be a strong indicator of poverty and the strength of the economy. This year’s 40% participation rate is down from an all-time high of 45% in 2011, but still higher than the 36% before the start of the Great Recession in December 2007.

12/04/19: President Trump wants stricter SNAP work requirements. Ohio advocates object (View)

"Most people who can work have jobs, Hamler-Fugitt said. They are low-wage with inconsistent hours, and offer no guarantees that people can achieve 20 hours a week, she said. Food pantries and food banks are already stressed, and the new SNAP rule will likely worsen the problem."


08/26/19: Change in Food Assistance Policy Could Hit Ohioans Hard, Critics Say (View)

"Generally, the government's food assistance programs have among the lowest rates of abuse of any federal program — less than 1 percent of food stamp payments go to those who are not eligible for the program, the federal government says."

08/05/19: Changes may leave Ohioans without food benefits (View)

"Millions of people may lose their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits as a result of changes proposed by President Donald Trump’s administration. More than 40,000 Mahoning County residents receive SNAP — sometimes called food stamps — each month. Proposed changes by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to the methods used to determine benefit eligibility may see some of those individuals removed from the program."

07/17/19: Press Statement: Ohio's Foodbanks Grateful for State Budget Support (View)

"The Ohio Association of Foodbanks, its 12 member foodbanks and 3,500 non-profit and faith-based charities extend our deepest appreciation to the Ohio General Assembly and Governor DeWine for their commitment to Ohioans facing hunger." 

06/09/19: Editorial from The Dispatch: Lawmakers, don't make it harder to feed hungry families (View)

"SNAP benefits are paid by the federal government. Any reduction in SNAP caseloads due to stricter HB 200 requirements would save federal funds but increase state and county costs to administer the program. Members of the General Assembly need look no further than an analysis by the Ohio Legislative Service Commission to judge whether the questionable benefits of HB 200 — if there are any — are greater than the costs."

06/07/19: Letter: Ohio should not limit SNAP eligibility (View)

"House Bill 200 would create an expensive new bureaucracy that will cost Ohio taxpayers millions. Grocery stores would lose millions in federally funded SNAP benefits, leading to lost jobs, lost local tax revenue and store closures. Taking food away from hungry people living on the brink does not promote work — it just drives more people to our food pantry lines."

06/05/19: Opinion: Build more nutrition funding for older Ohioans into state budget (View)

Guest columnist Kristin Warzocha, president and CEO of the Greater Cleveland Food Bank, discusses the urgent need for a response to increased demand for help with food from seniors. "The Ohio senior population is expected to increase significantly in the coming years. Many will be low-income seniors in need of food assistance: More than half of Cleveland’s seniors live on incomes of less than $25,000 a year."

04/12/19: New Report Identifies Changes To Improve Ohio's Environment, Benefit Farmers And Help Foodbanks (View)
04/04/19: Proposed food stamp changes condemned at agriculture subcommittee hearing (View)

"By scaling back one of the nation's most effective poverty-reduction programs, the rule would exacerbate hardship and reduce economic activity in areas that are already economically disadvantaged compared to the rest of the country," said Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, executive director of the Ohio Association of Foodbanks.

01/09/19: LISTEN: USDA announces SNAP benefits will be available for February during shutdown (View)

"Federal officials say fallout from the government shutdown will not impact the food security of families already living on the edge. However... there are still thousands of federal employees who are furloughed or working without pay, which could make it difficult for them to put food on the table."

12/20/18: Trump administration proposal could kick thousands of Ohioans off food stamps (View)

In a move that could kick thousands of Ohioans off of food stamps, the U.S. Department of Agriculture on Thursday proposed more stringent work requirements for letting able bodied adults without dependents get SNAP benefits. Ohio Association of Foodbanks executive director Lisa Hamler-Fugitt said almost every state, including Ohio, has waived work requirements at some point in areas of high unemployment.

12/20/18: Ohioans pan Donald Trump's work requirements for food stamp recipients (View)

President Donald Trump's executive order adding work requirements for able-bodied food stamp recipients drew criticism from many in Ohio. "Taking essential benefits like food assistance away [will[ merely increase hunger," said Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, executive director for the Ohio Association of Foodbanks.

12/06/18: Editorial from The Blade: Pass Farm Bill minus harsh rules (View)

"The final deal that was struck rejects the unnecessary new work obligations for adults to participate in SNAP. Critics attacked the proposal because they say food stamps are needed for people who are in poverty. One million or more households would potentially lose [SNAP] if the scrooge-like GOP plan were to be implemented."

11/11/18: Letter: Despite economy we have a hunger problem (View)

"Despite an improving economy, our organization served almost the exact same number of people last year [as the previous year]. Things are not getting better. This is just becoming the new normal."

10/09/18: Proposed changes to work requirements for food stamps could mean more struggle to get food (View)

"Congress has pushed its vote on the Farm Bill until at least after the midterm elections in November. Much of the delay is over the work requirements that would allow some to either get money to buy food or not. Mary O'Shea, director of advocacy at the Greater Cleveland Food Bank, says the delays are an attempt to make a much harsher policy. 'The reality is that there are already work requirements,' said O'Shea."

09/20/18: Ohio Groups Criticize Food Stamp Cuts in Farm Bill (View)
Ohio Groups Criticize Food Stamp Cuts in Farm Bill

Advocacy and policy groups from across the state are decrying proposed cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as food stamps, in the 2018 Farm Bill.

09/10/18: Why the Farm Bill Matters - Ohio (View)
Why the Farm Bill Matters - Ohio
The farm bill provides the heart of our collective commitment that no one in Ohio or anywhere
across this great nation should go hungry. The nutrition assistance programs contained in this
legislation feed tens of millions of children, seniors, veterans and other hungry Americans in every
county across the United States.

The farm bill provides the heart of our collective commitment that no one in Ohio or anywhere across this great nation should go hungry. The nutrition assistance programs contained in this legislation feed tens of millions of children, seniors, veterans and other hungry Americans in every county across the United States.

06/11/18: LISTEN: Summer Programs Take Bite Out of Ohio Hunger (View)

Besides serving nutritious meals, Whitmer adds many summer programs offer educational and recreational activities to keep kids engaged. "Studies show that there's learning loss over the summer, so it's a way of having activities and it's a way to keep kids interested during the summertime," she points out. Find a summer meal site by texting 877-877 and typing in a ZIP Code.

05/25/18: Letter: A war on SNAP is a war on the poor (View)

"Instead of attacking and working to undermine the SNAP program, Congress should vote to strengthen and increase food assistance benefits to ensure low-income Ohioans can afford to purchase nutritious, wholesome food and live healthier and productive lives."

05/22/18: Beacon Journal editorial: Better outcomes with a bipartisan farm bill (View)

"Senate Republicans and Democrats already have announced their intention of crafting a bipartisan farm bill. Which means staying away from such careless changes to food assistance. House Republicans have reason to take the cue, if they are interested in a bipartisan majority for the farm bill."

05/13/18: Letter: Struggling single moms have enough obstacles (View)

"Parents are sitting around their kitchen tables trying to figure out how they can afford to make the car repair they need to get to work or pay for their child's field trip at school. Some House Republicans want those parents to have to prove over and over again that they're working at least 20 hours per week, so they can keep their SNAP benefits. This kind of burdensome overreach doesn't show trust in moms to know best. It's bad public policy and Ohio's congressional members shouldn't stand for it."

04/27/18: Oh, SNAP! An explainer from Vox about the House Farm Bill (View)

LISTEN: A new farm bill, fresh out of the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture, could force over two million people off the program. Vox's Tara Golshan explains why Republicans want to put SNAP recipients to work, and Stacy Dean from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities talks about the program's bipartisan past.

04/26/18: Letter to the Editor: Protect food assistance lifeline (View)

"As director of one of the area's large food pantries, we see families struggle to make ends meet. Many are working two or more jobs and still can't make their resources last through the month. Instead of proposing to punish the poor and reduce access to nutritious food, Congress should focus on creating policies to end hunger and lift people out of poverty." Henri Etta Fletcher-Lockhart, Director, Akron Bible Church Baskets of Love

04/23/18: GOP push for 'welfare reform' tucked inside farm bill (View)

Current law requires able-bodied adulst between 18 and 49 with no dependents to work at least 20 hours per week or receive an equivalent amount of job training to qualify for [SNAP] benefits. The new GOP-pushed measure would change that age range to 18 to 59. It also would impose the work requirements on those with children over age six. Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, executive director of the Ohio Association of Foodbanks, said the new requirements include 'some of the most punitive provisions I've ever seen in 30 years of doing this work.'

04/18/18: LISTEN: Historic Changes to SNAP Could Mean More Hunger in Ohio (View)

"Let me be clear," said Lisa Hamler-Fugitt. "The current bill as it stands will increase hunger and contribute to escalating health care costs instead of maintaining our country's long-term commitment to providing hunger relief and working to prevent hunger and food insecurity."

01/31/18: Letter: Medicaid and SNAP aren't job programs (View)

"Taking food stamps away from people already living on the margins has led to increased demand on our charitable hunger relief network, rather than increased access to work. Taking Medicaid away by imposing similar work requirements will undoubtedly lead to poorer health outcomes."

01/27/18: Letter: SNAP rules keep many hungry (View)

"Make no mistake: cutting spending on a nutrition program that keeps kids, people with disabilities, low-wage workers and older adults from going hungry is bad governing."

01/03/18: Filling basic needs (View)

Asking for help was an emotional process for Felicia Love, a young mother who was visiting the Marietta Community Food Pantry for the first time in a long time. "The cupboards are bare. I need food and help for my babies," Love said, dabbing her wet cheeks. "We get assistance but after you pay the bills and everything, there's nothing left."

12/19/17: LISTEN: Groups call GOP Tax Plan a "Lump of Coal" for Struggling Ohioans (View)

Republicans are rushing to get their tax overhaul on the president's desk before Christmas - a plan that anti-poverty groups say is a generous gift for the rich and a lump of coal for those in need.

11/28/17: Ohio's Plan for CHIP as Federal Funding Runs Out (View)

LISTEN: Lisa Hamler-Fugitt says CHIP is a well-liked program and failing to keep funding it is essentially like cutting Medicaid for kids. "Why in the world would Congress, any member of Congress, put tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy above health care for children is just baffling."

10/30/17: LISTEN: Federal plans could reverse Ohio's progress on poverty (View)

Ohio is making strides in fighting poverty, but a new report from the Coalition on Human Needs and the Ohio Association of Foodbanks warns that progress could be undermined by proposed cuts at the federal level.

10/06/17: Proposed budget would gut anti-hunger programs (View)

"Elected officials know that I'm not going to take it easy on them when it comes to policies that impact low-income Ohioans," writes Lisa Hamler-Fugitt. "I've had the opportunity to attend hundreds of meetings with state and federal policymakers, testify before our state legislature and before congressional committees and comment on how proposals would affect people living at or near poverty levels. That's how government should work, and how it has worked throughout the three decades I've been an advocate. Those governing need to hear from us."

09/16/17: Navigators for Ohio's uninsured shocked by 71% cut in funding (View)

"In Ohio and across the nation, navigator groups provide a variety of services, including providing outreach to people about how to obtain health coverage, helping them decide which insurance plans best meet their needs, and getting them signed up. Federal regulators had invited the Ohio Association of Foodbanks to apply for a $1.7 million grant. Now, they've been given two weeks to come up with a revised budget and plan for about a quarter of their annual spending."

09/08/17: Op-ed from Lisa Hamler-Fugitt: Slashing Navigator funding will hurt consumers, reverse progress (View)
09/02/17: Press Statement: Slashing navigator funding will harm consumers (View)

"Thanks to affordable options through the Marketplace and the expansion of Medicaid in Ohio, nearly 1 million Ohioans have gained health coverage through the Affordable Care Act. We view that as an undeniable success, and we urge lawmakers, including Ohio's congressional delegation and Ohio Governor John Kasich, to press the Trump Administration to continue to invest in the advertising and outreach efforts that are vital to maintaining and growing upon that success."

06/21/17: Editorial from The Plain Dealer: Ohio lawmakers should stand up for the hungry (View)

"If federal budget cutbacks go into effect, poor children, seniors and adults can add hunger pangs to their list of woes. State and federal elected officials ought to be scrambling to change this grim picture. Food assistance is the right thing to do for people but also because hunger can drive up health costs and reduce academic achievement."

06/06/17: Former AmeriCorps VISTA members pens Letter to the Editor (View)

"My experience as a VISTA was life-changing," writes Jessica May, "and I am appalled and disappointed that President Trump's budget proposes a complete elimination of AmeriCorps. I encourage our members of Congress to renew our country's investment in these longstanding, bipartisan programs."

05/27/17: Editorial from the Akron-Beacon Journal: A presidential budget that picks on the needy (View)

"Those put in jeopardy [by the president's budget] would be the needy or working families looking to make ends meet, many of whom voted for the president. Together, they would see a reduction equivalent to more than two times the food provided each year through the Ohio Association of Foodbanks. That is the hardship the president proposes."

05/25/17: Editorial from The Vindicator in Youngstown: Valley has 87,350 reasons for stable aid to foodbanks (View)

"For state senators looking for a rationale to undo the harm the state House seeks to inflict on Ohio's network of foodbanks, we can easily point to 1,852,870 good reasons in Ohio, including 87,350 right here in the Mahoning Valley. These food-insecure residents of the Valley and their supporters are counting on state senators to do the right thing."

05/21/17: Editorial from the Akron-Beacon Journal: Help foodbanks meet the need (View)

"Sufficient food translates to better health. It enhances looking for employment and keeping a job. It frees room in limited household budgets to cover the costs of other basics, including housing. For children, it means performing better in school. More, all of us benefit. The reductions [in federal SNAP benefits] in recent years have resulted in fewer sales for grocers and retailers, diminished sales tax revenue and less economic activity. It makes sense then for the Ohio Senate to step up."

05/03/17: LISTEN: Ohio Foodbank Leader Disappointed by $1 Million in Funding Cuts in New Budget (View)

Lisa Hamler-Fugitt says the House did the unthinkable and cut foodbank funding by $1 million. "Cutting funding for Ohio's foodbanks for the first time in two decades is a slap in the face to 3,300 hunger relief organizations throughout the state and the Ohio farmers who work hard to provide this food."

03/18/17: LISTEN: Trump Budget Reaction - Ohio Kids Could Go Hungry (View)

Ohio's largest hunger-fighting network says it is deeply concerned about the potential impacts of President Trump's federal budget outline. The lights would be shut off at 19 federal agencies, including the Corporation for National and Community Service, which runs AmeriCorps VISTA in Ohio. Maureen Allen, who oversees the program for the Ohio Association of Foodbanks, said VISTA members work on projects that foster community change. "They make a very modest living allowance and get an education award to pay off student loan debt or go back to school." She said it's a win-win for the communities and VISTA members.

03/17/17: LISTEN: President Trump's Proposed Budget Would Hurt Ohio's Neediest (View)

The president's budget cuts funds for many domestic programs, including anti-poverty programs that help needy families across the state. Lisa Hamler-Fugitt of the Ohio Association of Foodbanks says the budget cuts will also directly impact Ohioans who rely on emergency food pantries to help feed their families.

03/04/17: Unintended consequences of ACA repeal and Medicaid reform are real (View)

"We see the connection between hunger and negative health outcomes driving up costs for the state and for all Ohioans. SNAP is a critical safety net that affords our most vulnerable citizens with steady access to healthy, nutritious and affordable food, which could be at risk as part of shifting priorities. Even though many of the 700,000 low-income adults who currently rely on Medicaid as their healthcare lifeline rely on SNAP as their lifeline for food." 

03/02/17: Fewer Ohio kids poor enough to qualify for free school lunches (View)

The percentage of Ohio students receiving free or subsidized school lunches dropped to 41 percent this year, a 2-percentage-point decline and the largest since the end of the Great Recession seven years ago. That's the good news. The bad news: More than 4 in 10 school-age kids are still living in poor households. "We're heading in the right direction, but we are lagging where we were" before the recession, said Howard Fleeter, an education analyst.

02/24/17: LISTEN: Calls for a Unified Approach to Fight Hunger in Ohio (View)

Chad Buurma, president of Buurma Farms in Huron County said, "I'm seeing people that I've known all my life and they're getting vegetables, things I take for granted. It breaks your heart in a sense, but it's also very satisfying to know that you can help out in that particular way." Currently, the Ohio Agricultural Clearance Program and the state's other anti-hunger programs are run separately with limited flexibility. The Ohio Association of Foodbanks is asking state leaders to unify the programs under one $30 million request in the biennial budget.

01/23/17: Obamacare, Medicaid-expansion recipients in Ohio fear repeal (View)

Breast-cancer survivor Susan Halpern said she is terrified about losing her health care coverage. "I'm trying to figure out a way to survive and keep some kind of health insurance," she said. Nearly 1 million Ohioans are covered under the ACA's expansion of Medicaid coverage and creation of an insurance exchange marketplace that offers federal subsidies to help many Americans pay premiums.

01/10/17: LISTEN: Hunger relief groups asking for increased funding to programs (View)

Governor John Kasich has warned state agencies and associations that this year's budget will be tight. However, the Ohio Association of Foodbanks believes that's exactly why Governor Kasich needs to increase funding for hunger relief. The association says the possible recession that Governor Kasich has been warning about means more people will be in need of this kind of support.

12/16/16: Half of Athens County population eligible for foodbank assistance (View)

"Hunger is a completely preventable problem," said Asti Payne of the SE Ohio Foodbank & Kitchen. "This $30 million per year request will help put several of our proven feeding initiatives under one funding umbrella that will reduce administrative costs while providing flexibility in delivering real hunger relief." 

12/11/16: Food-help eligibility up 23 percent in Franklin County (View)

The number of people eligible for emergency food assistance from Ohio foodbanks grew at a faster rate in the Columbus metro area than any other metro area in the state since 2009. "I really worry this is the new norm seven years out from the Great Recession," said Lisa Hamler-Fugitt. "It's a wake-up call. Wages are still continuing to lag behind."

11/28/16: Hunger increasing in Clark, Champaign counties (View)

The demand from seniors has ticked up over the past several months. "We're really concerned about that because once seniors hit our food pantry lines, they're likely not able to leave them," Novotny said. "They're living on fixed incomes and there's really not a lot of wiggle room with what they have to work with to stretch their food purchasing dollars."

11/01/16: It's No Trick: Time to Shop for Marketplace Health Insurance (View)

LISTEN: "We want to encourage people not to get caught up in the noise around the Affordable Care Act and insurance plans available through the Marketplace," notes Joree Novotny from the Ohio Association of Foodbanks. "Many consumers that have met with us have expressed afterward how pleasantly surprised they've been with the affordable coverage options they have."

09/20/16: Ohioans Urged to Pitch In for Hunger Action Month (View)

"Think locally, act locally," said Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, executive director of the Ohio Association of Foodbanks. "Be involved by advocating, raising awareness, volunteering or donating your time, your talent or your treasure."

09/17/16: Ohio's poverty rate declined, income rose in 2015 (View)

Ohio's poverty rate dropped and the median household income rose last year, according to new U.S. Census Bureau reports. "Any reduction in poverty is a good thing," said Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, director of the Ohio Association of Foodbanks. "We're seven years out from the end of the great recession and this is the first positive sign. Their lives are better." But there is still a "tremendous" amount of work that needs to be done, Hamler-Fugitt said.

09/17/16: Census: Incomes increasing, poverty declining (View)

"Fourteen-point-eight percent of Ohioans are still living in poverty," said Joree Novotny, director of communications for the Ohio Association of Foodbanks. "There's still a really high percentage of folks that are living paycheck to paycheck." Making enough to climb above the federal poverty level is a good step, Novotny said, but it's not the final benchmark to look at because families making 200 percent of that level still qualify for help from foodbanks.

09/09/16: Groups Getting $2M to Help Enroll Ohioans in Health Plans (View)

The food bank association will get about $1.7 million to help people sign up. The group will walk people through the process of enrolling or re-enrolling in health insurance. Enrollment for 2017 plans starts November 1.

08/12/16: Program Helps Ohio's Hungry Enjoy Nature's Harvest (View)

The value of fresh, local food is being celebrated during National Farmers Market Week, but lower-income Ohioans are often unable to partake in nature's harvest. The Agricultural Clearance Program works to solve those problems by making local farmers' excess produce available to Ohioans who struggle to get by, including the one in six considered food insecure.

07/31/16: Weekend food program offered by NOCAC (View)

The bag children get have a lot of items inside that would appeal to their appetites. "My big thing is quality," said Weber. "You get the food in these bags that are very kid-friendly. There's little single bowls of Lucky Charms in there and soups. I was impressed by how well the beef stew tasted."

07/28/16: The Slow-Moving Disaster Happening at Farms Around America (View)

In Ohio, Erin Wright oversees the Ohio Agricultural Clearance Program, which serves as a direct link between farmers with excess produce and foodbanks that provide food to hungry Ohioans. "It helps them out, it helps us out, it helps the clients out and helps sustainability across the board for everyone," Wright told HuffPost.

07/22/16: API donates $120,000 to Ohio Association of Foodbanks (View)

"We are especially pleased to have the opportunity to support those in need with this donation," said Jack Gerard, API President and CEO. "Ohio knows the importance of turning our still-struggling economy around. No family should struggle to pay for food. We can do better as a nation to support households struggling to pay for food and meeting basic needs."

06/29/16: Program provides nutritious meals for kids during long summer (View)

"Where this model doesn't work are in our more rural areas where families may have to drive up to 20 minutes one way to get to a site," Payne explained. "That is not feasible for our families with limited resources and large transportation and geographic barriers." This is why the Summer Rural Delivery Meals Program was initiated in Athens County through the Governor's Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives and the Ohio Association of Foodbanks.

06/27/16: Ohio battles summer hunger with innovative programs (View)

AmeriCorps VISTA Summer Associate member Japera Benson works with programs in Ohio trying to reach those kids who are missing out. "They're still hungry and they still need to eat, so a lot of these sites have weekly programs where the kids come for breakfast and lunch, and then they send food home during the weekend instead of waiting until Monday, going all that time without eating," she said.

06/22/16: More than 200 students being served daily at Reynoldsburg High School's Summer Meals Program (View)
06/16/16: Report finds fewer Ohio children accessed summer meals (View)
06/10/16: Morrow, Marion Counties to host summer food programs for area kids (View)
04/29/16: LISTEN: Food Insecurity Continues to Plague 1 in 6 Ohioans (View)

"In Ohio, we're falling about 343 million meals short in our food insecure households' ability to afford enough food on their own," said Joree Novotny with the Ohio Association of Foodbanks. "We make up for that as best we can in our charitable network, but we certainly cannot respond to that gap on our own. This is not the time to weaken nutrition programs that help our kids."

04/19/16: Letter to the Editor: Keep open state prison farms (View)

"Lisa Hamler-Fugit, executive director of the Ohio Association of Food Banks, said more than 805,000 pounds of vegetables had been harvested through an eight-year public-private partnership with the correction department. Families served by a dozen regional food banks benefit from this partnership. It is wrong to deny them fresh food."

04/18/16: Ohio foodbanks will suffer from prison farm shutdown, advocates say (View)

The news that Ohio's 10 prison farms will be shut down and sold floored Lisa Hamler-Fugitt. She immediately pictured 805,000 pounds of vegetables - 20 tractor-trailer loads - and $204,000 in cash crops going out the door. That's how much fresh food and cash the foodbanks association harvested over eight years through a public-private partnership with the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.

03/30/16: Daytonian of the Week: Michelle Riley, CEO of The Foodbank, Inc. in Dayton, OH (View)
03/18/16: Number of kids in free-lunch program not improving with economy (View)

"I don't want to panic people, but that's a real crisis. It's a real problem. It's starting to worry me how stubborn these numbers are," said Howard Fleeter, of the Education Tax Policy Institute. "It's 2016. The recession ended in 2010, and we've had five full years (of economic recovery). Those numbers should be lower. There is a group of people being left behind."

03/10/16: LISTEN: Volunteers Boosting Anti-Poverty Work in Ohio (View)

Volunteers who boost poverty-fighting work in Ohio are being honored during National AmeriCorps Week. The Ohio Association of Foodbanks places AmeriCorps VISTA members at anti-hunger and anti-poverty nonprofit organizations, where they build organizational, administrative and financial capacity. "We really care about the cause," said VISTA member Taylor Vaughn. "We actually are willing to go that extra mile and make the difference that we are here to make."

03/02/16: Ohio Ag Clearance Program benefits farmers, families in need (View)

"The Agricultural Clearance Program is a perfect example of the public and private sector seeing a good return on investment while fulfilling the most basic of all human need. As the program has grown, so has interest in the fresh produce that before just wasn't a cost-effective option for people trying to maximize their government assistance every month. One of the primary missions of the program is to help everyone have the opportunity to be healthier by consuming foods that have beneficial nutritional value."

03/02/16: States reduce jobless checks, adding pressure to unemployed (View)

Ohio could be the next state to shorten benefits. A bill by Rep. Barbara Sears would cut benefits to as few as 12 weeks. A coalition of Ohio health and human services gropus has warned that shorter unemployment benefits could increase poverty. "Once you fall into poverty, the chances that you're going to be able to get back out are going to be pretty difficult," Lisa Hamler-Fugitt said.

01/26/16: LISTEN: Health Care Enrollment Deadline Nears: Ohio Navigators Standing By (View)

For people concerned about their ability to pay a monthly premium, Zach Reat of the Ohio Association of Foodbanks says financial assistance is available. And he adds that more than eight in 10 Ohioans have qualified for the tax credit. "Ohioans have accessed over $294 per month on average when it comes to that credit so it is significant for Ohioans and it is helping Ohioans afford insurance," he states.

01/20/16: Crunching the Numbers: Free Tax Help Available in Ohio (View)

Tax season is here and some Ohioans can get free help crunching the numbers. Sites are located around the state and an appointment can be made online at Last year, The Ohio Benefit Bank helped file federal and state tax returns for over 25,000 households, claiming nearly $48 million in refunds and tax credits.

01/12/16: Unemployment benefits changes would 'dismantle' anti-poverty program, advocates say (View)

House Bill 394, a sweeping overhaul of the state's unemployment system, goes farther than any other state to limit benefits to the unemployed, according to Advocates for Ohio's Future, a coalition of nearly 500 health and human services organizations. "If HB 394 is passed, it will dismantle Ohio's most effective anti-poverty program," said Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, co-chair of the coalition and executive director of the Ohio Association of Foodbanks.

01/11/16: Many seniors not eating well enough (View)

In the last quarter of 2007, 158,599 older Ohioans depended on the supplemental-food services [of foodbanks]. In the last quarter of 2015, 411,570 did -- a nearly 160 percent increase. "Seniors are always the last ones to show up, and when they do, they're usually in desperate need," Hamler-Fugitt said.

12/16/15: LISTEN: Today Is Deadline for Affordable Care Act (View)
12/15/15: Barely getting by: 42 percent of Williams Co. residents struggling financially (View)
12/09/15: Foodbank demand rises (View)
12/08/15: A new report links hunger and problems with learning (View)
12/07/15: Recent study shows increase in households living in poverty; Athens County ranks 2nd in state (View)
12/06/15: Study shows over 45 percent of Highland County residents qualify for help from food banks (View)
12/05/15: Economic insecurity: Number of poor families grows in Ohio (View)
12/04/15: Advocates for needy urge Ohio lawmakers not to cut unemployment benefits (View)
11/25/15: Opinion from Lisa Hamler-Fugitt in the Akron-Beacon Journal: EITC and CTC boost work, fight poverty (View)
11/16/15: Cooper Farms Donate to Ohio Foodbanks (View)
11/10/15: LISTEN: Bill Aims to Remove Barriers to Food for Ohio Children (View)
10/28/15: Letter to the Editor: Help handy for finding health coverage (View)
10/21/15: No health coverage? That's about to get more expensive (View)
10/14/15: Democrats call for more extensive food assistance waivers (View)
10/13/15: Fewer food pantries serve Ohioans in need (View)
10/05/15: Too many senior women live in poverty (View)
10/03/15: Poverty numbers rise in Dayton area despite lower unemployment (View)
09/29/15: Veterans help run resource center for other veterans in need (View)
09/27/15: Impoverished: Falling jobless rate hides number of people struggling (View)
09/19/15: Recovery matters little to Ohio's poor (View)
09/16/15: LISTEN: Ohio Ranks Among Worst States in Food Security (View)
09/12/15: LISTEN: Feds Say Ohio Sixth Worst State for Food Insecurity (View)
08/18/15: LISTEN: Bad weather keeps students away from summer food programs (View)
08/18/15: LISTEN: Bill Aims to Reduce Summer Hunger Among Ohio Kids (View)
08/18/15: Letter to the editor: Drug-testing for cash assistance benefits is impractical (View)
08/14/15: Foodbanks Struggle to Meet Surprising Demand (View)
07/24/15: Summer feeding programs beneficial to communities (View)
07/13/15: Addressing child hunger when school lunch is out for the summer (View)
07/04/15: Letter to the editor in Columbus Dispatch: US should expand national service (View)
06/02/15: Summer break no break from hunger for some Ohio kids (View)
05/16/15: South Side school becomes food pantry site (View)
05/11/15: Letter to the editor: Hunger among elderly presents more problems (View)
05/04/15: Ohio's elderly forced to choose between food or medicine (View)
04/16/15: Jobs return, but hunger remains a problem in Ohio (View)
04/10/15: EDITORIAL: Plain Dealer says Ohio should allot more money in budget to fight hunger (View)
04/07/15: EDITORIAL: The Vindicator backs boost to foodbank funding (View)
03/31/15: Local food pantries are modernizing to fight hunger more efficiently (View)
03/24/15: What The Jobs Report Doesn't Tell You (View)
03/11/15: Many Ohioans living paycheck to paycheck, report shows (View)
03/02/15: Foodbank Leader Receives National Award (View)
02/20/15: School Closings Hurt Families Trying to Feed Their Children (View)
01/26/15: Job training for poor gets priority (View)
01/23/15: Want help filing your taxes? File for free with the OBB (View)
01/11/15: Letter to the editor: Many families, even working, need help (View)
12/21/14: A third of Ohioans now eligible for food help (View)
12/06/14: Food pantry eyes dwindling reserves (View)
11/26/14: Holiday Blues: Advocates Shine Spotlight on Life in the Low-Wage Economy (View)
11/25/14: New Ohio Campaign Promotes Free Resources Available to Help Uninsured Ohioans (View)
11/23/14: More seeking food aid (View)
11/19/14: Forum Examines the Needs of Ohio's Hungry Kids (View)
11/05/14: Ohio Association of Foodbanks Receives Ohio Nonprofit Excellence Award (View)
11/03/14: Demand for food pantries is increasing (View)
10/31/14: More Ohioans turning to food pantries, study shows (View)
10/31/14: WATCH: More Ohioans Seeking Food Assistance (View)
10/31/14: WATCH: 2 Million Ohioans Dependent on Foodbanks (View)
10/12/14: Ohio's poverty rate dips slightly (View)
10/08/14: Health law waivers: Too complicated to claim? (View)
09/05/14: Ohio rates among the worst states when it comes to hunger problems (View)
09/05/14: How is Ohio Tackling Childhood Hunger? (View)
08/28/14: Not Just for Kids: Peanut Butter Helps Hungry Ohio Seniors (View)
08/28/14: Hope Fund wraps up summer meals (View)
08/05/14: Weekend food, delivered meals, mobile markets feeding Ohio kids (View)
07/31/14: Ohio foodbank program an option for growers (View)
07/16/14: Representative from governor's office toured SE Ohio Food Bank and summer feeding sites (View)
07/15/14: Food program fills void for rural kids in need (View)
07/13/14: Reentry center to give fresh start, offenders grow for foodbanks (View)
06/28/14: Foodbank supplier in high gear for summer (View)
06/25/14: Bucyrus offering weekend meals through executive order from Gov. Kasich (View)
06/18/14: Foodbanks aim to combat summer hunger (View)
06/18/14: There's More Places for Ohio's Kids To Get A Free Meal This Summer (View)
06/12/14: Summer food program hopes to reach more children (View)
06/05/14: Fewer nutritious meals during summer months (View)
04/21/14: Food stamp recipients making tough choices after cuts (View)
04/18/14: Ohio Pork Farmers Reach 1 Million Meals Donated (View)
04/15/14: WATCH: Ohio farmers donate pork to the Greater Cleveland Food Bank (View)
04/14/14: Editorial: No more cuts to food stamps (View)
04/12/14: Access to fresh food lacking in parts of Ohio (View)
04/04/14: Help Wanted: Poverty Fighters in Ohio (View)
04/01/14: Senator Sherrod Brown: "National Service: Strengthening Ohio's Communities" (View)
03/26/14: Ohio's winter was especially harsh for lower-income people (View)
03/25/14: Roundtable Offers Food for Thought - and Action - on Food Insecurity (View)
03/21/14: USDA Recognizes Issue with Students Missing Meals on Snow Days (View)
03/20/14: Summer Food Needs for Students (View)
03/19/14: Activists working now to set up summer food service programs for kids (View)
02/24/14: Ohio Research: How Income, Poverty and Unemployment Impact Hunger (View)
02/24/14: WATCH: Common Ground -- SNAP Work Requirements (View)
02/22/14: Nearly half of Ohio kids get subsidized lunches (View)
02/18/14: The Vindicator Editorial: Find more work slots or restore food stamps to needy Ohioans (View)
02/15/14: Dayton Daily News: Millions of Ohioans either unemployed or looking for work (View)
02/13/14: Snow Days Mean Kids Go Without Free/Reduced Meals (View)
02/08/14: Part of the Farm Bill: Cuts to Food Stamps (View)
01/26/14: Akron Beacon Journal Editorial: 'SNAP Judgment' (View)
01/25/14: About 10,000 Ohioans lose food stamps (View)
01/19/14: Food pantry seeing new clients after food stamps' work rule hits (View)
01/18/14: Most on food stamps are working (View)
12/28/13: Lisa Hamler-Fugitt Appearance on 10TV Capital Square (View)
12/20/13: Food Struggles Could Hit Ohio's Jobless Even Harder (View)
12/18/13: Critics prod Kasich to waive work rule (View)
12/18/13: WATCH: Foodbanks, Advocates Address Need for SNAP Statewide (View)
12/12/13: WATCH: Update on Health Plans and Ohio (View)
12/07/13: Healthcare Navigators Report Easier Time Helping Clients (View)
12/05/13: Viewpoint: Fighting for a fair farm bill (View)
12/02/13: Job market stalling, but work requirement for food stamps still looms (View)
12/01/13: Waiver for food stamps cues debate (View)
11/29/13: Toledo Blade Editorial: No jobs, no food stamps (View)
11/28/13: Work requirement for food stamps draws ire of two lawmakers (View)
11/27/13: Press Conference: Discussing Food Stamp Eligibility in Ohio (View)
11/19/13: Food stamp cuts hit Stark County's poor (View)
11/16/13: NBC4 Segment on Spread the Good Campaign (View)
11/06/13: Lisa Hamler-Fugitt Appearance on "State of Ohio" (View)
11/05/13: Food stamp cuts create high demand for foodbank supplies (View)
11/02/13: Today's Food Stamp Cuts Impact 1.8 Million Ohioans (View)
11/02/13: Bllomberg: Wal-Mart to Widows Will Feel U.S. Food Stamp Cuts (View)
11/02/13: Food stamp stimulus money expires (View)
11/01/13: Ohioans' food stamp cut will hurt (View)
10/25/13: Donation from Wiers Farm helps drive Second Harvest Food Bank of North Central Ohio (View)
10/22/13: Volunteers sought to sign residents up for benefits (View)
10/13/13: Health Insurance Exchanges Suffer Ills of Geography (View)
10/15/13: Ohioans Receiving Food Stamps Hurt by Weekend EBT Card System Outage (View)
10/13/13: Melissa Harris-Perry Appearance by Lisa Hamler-Fugitt (View)
10/10/13: In Boehner's backyard: A 'perfect storm' for hunger (View)
10/10/13: Shutdown a 'complete disconnect' from the realities of hungry Ohioans (View)
10/09/13: Ohio Association of Foodbanks, two state senators host public discussion (View)
10/08/13: High On Ohio: Part 5 (View)
10/08/13: High On Ohio: Part 4 (View)
10/08/13: High On Ohio: Part 3 (View)
10/08/13: High On Ohio: Part 2 (View)
10/08/13: High On Ohio: Part 1 (View)
09/24/13: Gov. Kasich praises foodbank efforts, pledges support (View)
09/07/13: Ohio 10th worst state for food insecurity (View)
09/07/13: Ohio ranks 10th in nation for low food security (View)
09/04/13: Ex-offenders garden for good cause (View)
09/04/13: Increased funds mean more fresh produce at foodbanks (View)
09/01/13: Ohio foodbanks need our help (View)
08/30/13: Ohio foodbanks leader says cutting SNAP funds a bad idea (View)
08/30/13: Governor Kasich encourages Ohioans to help end hunger (View)
08/18/13: Worries grow as program faces ax (View)
08/16/13: Ohio Association of Foodbanks state's largest recipient of navigator grants (View)
08/15/13: Local pantries fear impact of food stamp cut (View)
08/09/13: Food assistance recipients brace for cuts (View)
08/08/13: Ohioans set to take hit if food stamp boost lapses (View)
08/08/13: Toledo Blade editor says "go-hungry policy" would be awful (View)
08/08/13: 16% of Ohioans face food stamp cuts (View)
08/06/13: Advocates, politicians say they will promote Obama health plan (View)
08/03/13: Incoming Federal Cuts to Hit Low-Income Ohio Families (View)
07/23/13: State rep visits food program (View)
07/17/13: Growers fear for their safety net if legislation doesn't cover food stamps (View)
06/20/13: Kids summer food program under way (View)
06/19/13: Farmers markets bring produce to summer food programs (View)
06/16/13: CEO of ProMedica says: Hunger is a health issue (View)
06/14/13: Senator Brown, Ohio Foodbanks promote summer meal program (View)
06/14/13: Many children in Ross, Pike Counties food insecure (View)
06/13/13: Executive Order will feed children in rural areas (View)
06/08/13: Senate declines to boost foodbank aid (View)
06/05/13: Meigs Local funded for children's summer feeding program (View)
06/04/13: Hunger Doesn't Take a Summer Break (View)
06/04/13: Schools will provide summer meals to needy kids (View)
05/30/13: Helper at hand in Governor Kasich (View)
05/25/13: The Courier (Findlay) endorses state budget request for Ohio's foodbanks (View)
05/19/13: Food gap: Akron-Beacon Journal endorses state budget request for Ohio foodbanks (View)
05/17/13: Banking on food: Toledo Blade endorses state budget request for Ohio foodbanks (View)
05/15/13: Brown Introduces Amendment to Reverse Cuts to Foodbanks (View)
05/09/13: USDA Administrator Talks about Food Insecurity in Appalachia (View)
04/24/13: Walmart Giving Tops $1 Billion Nationwide (View)
04/17/13: Fed Cuts Impact Summer Meals for Hungry Ohio Kids (View)
04/15/13: Video: Additional Refrigeration Needed at Member Foodbank (View)
04/06/13: UnitedHealthcare Donation Means Healthy Food for People in Need (View)
04/02/13: Pork donation to make a difference (View)
02/06/13: More than 44 percent of Ohio children receive free and reduced-price school meals (View)
01/31/13: Gov. Kasich announces $1.5 million in funding for summer programs (View)
01/02/13: Kasich gifts foodbanks with much-needed boost (View)
12/10/12: Fiscal cliff crisis seen as threat to gains (View)
12/02/12: Advocates fear food stamp cuts look inevitable (View)
11/21/12: Hunger in Ohio Doesn't Take a Holiday (View)
11/19/12: Fighting Hunger: Editorial (View)
11/17/12: Lisa Hamler-Fugitt on Melissa Harris-Perry, Part 1 (View)
11/17/12: Lisa Hamler-Fugitt on Melissa Harris-Perry, Part 2 (View)
11/13/12: Food Stamp Benefits Shrink; Food Pantries Concerned (View)
11/12/12: Ohio Food Stamp Aid To Be Cut (View)
11/08/12: Ohio food charity need up 45 percent in three years (View)
09/13/12: Drought impacts Ohio foodbanks, reports Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (View)
08/27/12: As Ohio School Bells Ring, Kids' Tummies Rumble (View)
Public News Service
08/16/12: Has your representative rejected SNAP cuts in the Farm Bill? (View)
Ohio Association of Foodbanks Action Alert
08/02/12: Poverty Sim: Walk in My Shoes (View)
United Way Director: Trials and Triumphs
07/23/12: Protecting SNAP: Notes from the Field (View)
Spotlight on Poverty
07/13/12: Backpack program helps parents feed kids (View)
Middletown Journal
07/02/12: Hunger: Interview with Lisa Hamler-Fugitt and Matt Habash (View)
Town Hall Ohio Radio, Episode 320
06/28/12: Governor stops by the Lunch Club (View)
Westerville News & Public Opinion
06/25/12: Summer lunch programs available (View)
Record Herald
06/21/12: Making sure to eat well (View)
The Chronicle-Telegram
06/20/12: With Schools Closing for the Summer, Brown Alerts Ohioans to 1,734 Sites in 77 Counties that Ensure Needy Children Do Not Go Hungry in the Summer (View)
06/16/12: Governor Kasich Issues Executive Order to Feed Hungry Children (View)
The Cincinnati Herald
06/10/12: Needy kids can get summer lunches (View)
Dayton Daily News
06/08/12: Lunch Provided: USDA Summer Food Program under way (View)
Marietta Times
06/02/12: Fraud Guard - proposed rules for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (View)
Akron Beacon Journal
05/02/12: Freestore sheds light on poverty through simulation (View)
Cincinnati Enquirer
05/02/12: 15.5% fall into 'meal gap' (View)
New Philadelphia Times Reporter
04/30/12: Cutting food stamp funding hurts the poor and rural America (View)
04/27/12: Hunger on the rise in Ohio, relief group says (View)
The Plain Dealer
04/22/12: Poverty In America: Defining The New Poor (View)
National Public Radio
04/17/12: For some, tax laws really code to joy (View)
The Dispatch
04/11/12: Designed to fight poverty (View)
Akron Beacon Journal editorial
03/09/12: Another View - Hunger in Ohio (View)
Ironton Tribune
02/19/12: It's tax time, and a statewide, nonprofit agency wants you to hang on to your money. (View)
Mansfield Journal News
02/14/12: Two local nonprofits receive $300,000 in grants (View)
The Dispatch
01/31/12: Officials Look for Ways to Boost Student Use of Free Summer Meal Plans (View)
The Dispatch
01/30/12: State Looks to Help More Kids with Food Programs (View)
Ohio News Network
01/02/12: Food Stamps: The Safety Net That Deserves Its Name (View)
The Nation
12/22/11: Hard Choices Loom in Boehner's Home State as Benefits Expiring (View)
12/02/11: Fast Food's Dirty Little Secret: It's the Middle Class Buying Burgers (View)
The Atlantic
12/04/11: Poverty a Community Problem (View)
The Marion Star
11/22/11: Wendy's Awards OASHF with $10,000 Community Appreciation Grant (View)
11/19/11: Nation Needs to Step Up Fight Against Hunger (View)
The Columbus Dispatch
11/15/11: Needy Families Reach Out for Ohio Benefit Bank (View)
11/14/11: Even in a Land of Abundance, Hard Times Leave Many People in Need (View)
Crain's Cleveland Business
11/09/11: Congresswoman Fudge Shops on a Food Stamp Budget (View)
Fox 28 News
11/07/11: Peanut Butter Prices Hurting Foodbanks (View)
610 WTVN
10/30/11: Hunger Escalating among Ohio's Greatest Generation (View)
The Examiner
10/24/11: Outside Cleveland, Snapshots of Poverty's Surge in the Suburbs (View)
The New York Times
10/17/11: Hunger Spreads in Suburbia (View)
The Columbus Dispatch
10/11/11: Hundreds of Helping Hands Could be Lost in Ohio (View)
Public News Service
10/06/11: Farm Credit Services of Mid-America Helps Ohio Farmers Fight Hunger (View)
PR Web
10/06/11: Ohio Pork Producers Inspire Giving (View)
09/23/11: New Census Numbers "No Surprise" to Ohio Foodbanks (View)
Public News Service - Ohio
09/12/11: Second Harvest Mobile Unit Assists Veterans (View)
09/08/11: Hunger in Ohio Rises to 6th-Worst in U.S. (View)
The Dispatch
08/15/11: AmerCorps and VISTA: Answers to an Ailing Economy (View)
The Rachel Maddow Show
07/27/11: Homeless Children Get Lessons in Health (View)
WLWT Channel 5
02/04/11: The Need for Social Service Agencies to Come Together (View)
Brunswick Area Television