Mt. Healthy City Schools (MTHCS) wrapped up their No Kid Hungry grant project with a special Our Dinner at Home holiday food distribution event last December.
Our Dinner at Home is a program held in conjunction with the monthly free food distribution offered by the Mt. Healthy High School food pantry, which is sponsored by the Freestore Foodbank. With No Kid Hungry funding, families received themed meal boxes to prepare a healthy dish together at home. They could even follow along with a video of the district’s Chef Brian Potter demonstrating how to cook the meal.
Holiday brunch at home
December’s event was a joint effort by the food service department, school wellness committee, No Kid Hungry school food pantry, the high school/Freestore food pantry, and Children’s Hunger Alliance.
“The Freestore Foodbank provided a lot of the non-perishable items,” explained Food Service Director Fredrika Richardson. “Then with the No Kid Hungry funds, we bought perishable foods and other foods so families could make a big holiday brunch. Plus, we gave them a $35 Kroger gift card to help with their grocery bill, because groceries are becoming so expensive.”
“Families got bacon, sausage, eggs, cheese, oatmeal, pancake mix, fresh produce, canned fruits and vegetables, milk, and other pantry items,” said Madison Kist, MTHCS dietitian. “And the Children’s Hunger Alliance provided food boxes that contained pre-made, non-perishable breakfasts and lunches for students to have over the holiday break.”
In two hours, they served 172 families, which included about 400 students. “We had people lined up around the building,” Fredrika said. “It really was great.”
Some special volunteers were on hand to help out and celebrate the final No Kid Hungry grant food distribution event, including:
- Hamilton County Commissioner Denise Driehaus
- State Representative Catherine Ingram
- State Representative Sedrick Denson
- Scott Neely, Andrew Nelson, and Thomas Ben from Children’s Hunger Alliance
- Marcus L. Jordan from U.S. Bank
- Mt. Healthy Schools staff, coaches, and student council members
(Pictured from left, Catherine Ingram, Denise Driehaus, Sedrick Denson)
What is No Kid Hungry?
No Kid Hungry is a national campaign run by Share Our Strength, a nonprofit working to solve problems of hunger and poverty in the United States and around the world.
No Kid Hungry provides grants to schools and community groups across the country to help them purchase appliances, equipment, and other things needed to feed children.
In addition to Mt. Healthy City Schools, Winton Woods City Schools and Northwest Local Schools (WeTHRIVE!℠ school districts) have received No Kid Hungry grants since 2020.
No Kid Hungry in Mt. Healthy
Mt. Healthy’s food service department and wellness committee teamed up to apply for the $50,000 No Kid Hungry grant. In addition to the Our Dinner at Home themed food boxes, the funds were used to improve food equity across the district by setting up an additional school food pantry in the district.
Besides holiday brunch, Our Dinner at Home themes included tuna noodle casserole, beef taco pie, Mother’s Day brunch, summer BBQ, and Thanksgiving (when they gave away 200 15-lb turkeys).
Advice for other school districts
Fredrika encourages school districts to apply for No Kid Hungry grants. “They continually have different grants available on their website,” she said. “It wasn’t difficult to apply. They want to help if you have a need.”
MTHCS also has a history of partnering with Children’s Hunger Alliance, and Fredrika recommends that organization as well.
Fredrika Richardson and Madison Kist are members of the WeTHRIVE!℠ wellness team at Mt. Healthy City Schools. Learn more here.