MOUNT VERNON — Recognizing that hunger affects 16.2 million American kids, equal to one child out of every five in our country, 46 Knox County teens made a pledge Oct. 26 to add their voice to the national movement to end childhood hunger.
Members of the Knox County District of Family, Career and Community Leaders of America devoted a portion of this year’s district meeting to learning about and fighting childhood hunger. In partnership with United Way, students from Centerburg, Danville, East Knox and Mount Vernon High Schools partnered on a “hunger hurts” campaign to pack 1,000 meals for hungry area elementary students. The meeting was an all-night lock-in hosted by Mount Vernon High School.
District co-presidents Ali Krempel and Sam Walters from Mount Vernon High School, along with officers Caitlyn Nugent of Danville High School and Brandon Beach of East Knox, oversaw the coordination of this year’s lock-in event and the “hunger hurts” project. Seven teams formed to pack almost 150 shelf-stable meals per team, which included spaghetti and meatballs, apple sauce, green beans, milk and a meat stick snack. These bagged meals are being donated to elementary schools that were represented at this event and will be used to send home with hungry elementary school children on weekends and at the end of the month when household food resources are often slim.
“In Knox County, we know that 34 percent of requests for food made possible through Mid-Ohio Food Bank, comes from households that have children,” said Jen Odenweller, executive director of United Way of Knox County. “It has been documented that 15 percent of the overall population in our county is food insecure, meaning that at times they lack access to enough food for an active, healthy life for members of those households,” said Odenweller. Students learned about the importance of giving to support causes that impact poverty, advocating for those less fortunate, and volunteering to make a difference, all in an effort to LIVE UNITED.
FCCLA district meeting participants wore glow-in-the-dark bracelets recognizing their motto for this event, “hunger hurts.” Donations for this meal packing project were made possible through United Way, Knox County Department of Job & and Family Services, Walmart Super Center, Kiwanis Club of Mount Vernon, and the Knox County District FCCLA.