Feed Lucas County Children hosts summer kickoff event

TOLEDO, OH (Press Release) - When the school year ends, so do schoollunch programs, leaving over 25,000 children without enough food to eat. And manyfamilies living in poverty aren't aware that there's help. "Feed Lucas CountyChildren (FLCC) is working together with our summer camp to help children inneed, filling this dangerous gap by providing healthy meals, a safe haven, sports,and educational programs," says Tony Siebeneck, Executive Director of FLCC.  "This year, we're happy to sponsor over 80sites, including The Knight Academy."

The summer kickoffat The Knight Academy introduces families to the services that can help keeptheir kids well-fed, safe, and healthy. The event, which takes place on June 13from 10 AM to 1 PM, will feature a hot lunch, games, and a tour of theAcademy's facilities, including the region's first community garden forchildren. The Lucas County Children's Camp, a free summer program sponsored byFLCC and hosted by The Knight Academy, is open to all children and runs Mondaythrough Thursday from 10 AM to 3:30 PM. The program ends on August 9, 2012.

The Knight Academyfeatures a 10,000 square-foot community garden that will offer children a hands-onexperience planting, growing, and harvesting vegetables that they'll enjoy forlunch. "We're not just making sure our kids are well-fed – we're educating themabout nature and teaching them how to grow their own meals, from seed totable," explains Siebeneck, a former agricultural specialist. "Urban gardeningis becoming increasingly popular across the country as people rediscover itsbenefits – homegrown fruits and vegetables are affordable, healthy, anddelicious. We're excited to help area children and provide them an inside lookat how food is grown."

Fitnessis also a vital part of the Lucas County Children's Camp. Sports includebasketball, soccer, football, volleyball, baseball, softball, and relay races,along with a variety of arts and crafts to enhance creativity. All sports andactivities are supervised by trained staff and volunteers. According toKhalfani Rice, an AmeriCorps alumnus who coordinates the camp, "The camp provideskids the opportunity to play, eat healthy, exercise, and engage their minds. We'rethrilled we have a program to help children stay physically and mentally fit."

Tom Baker,Principal of The Knight Academy, says, "We've used FLCC for our school mealsfor years, and we're happy to partner with them. This summer program is badlyneeded in the community. I'm excited we can be a part of it and open up ourdoors. I've been in this business a long time, and I've always been critical ofhow schools are used for nine months, and then shut down the rest of the year. Ourcommunities own these buildings – let's open the door to year-round learning."

Feed Lucas County Children is theoldest and largest organization in Northwest Ohio dedicated exclusively toproviding free meals for hungry children. The nonprofit, which provides mealsto over 100 community groups and organizations, has been fighting child hungerin Lucas County since 2002. In 2010/2011, FLCC served over 340,000 hot,balanced meals to underprivileged children. This summer, FLCC is rapidlyapproaching its one millionth meal milestone. Funding comes from privatedonors, businesses, grants, religious groups, and the government. Visit www.feedlucaschildren.org for moreinformation.

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