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Hunger Solutions Task Force Gets New Member, Growing Support for Programs
Posted on: 03/11/2014
By  Mike Cullums
The Hunger Solutions Task Force is celebrating more than a year of service to the community. The Task Force was formed by three organizations: Peoples Bank, Marietta College and the Memorial Health System.
 
At a press conference Monday inside the Marietta Community Food Pantry at the First Congregational Church, a fourth member was welcomed: The Bricker and Eckler Law Firm.
 
Bricker and Eckler is one of Ohio’s largest law firms, and last year opened an office in Marietta. Monday the firm donated $10,000 to the Hunger Solutions Task Force.
 
While the task force helps the area’s food pantries, its primary purpose is to educate children about the importance of proper nutrition and healthy living. In its first year, the group has helped more than 400 Marietta-area school children become educated and even excited about healthy eating.
 
Dee Ann Gehlauf, vice president for business and organization development for Memorial Health System, explains…
 
“It’s a second grade classroom program in which we partner with Marietta College to provide food educators. They go through specific training to become food educators, then they work with the classroom teachers. We provide mobile kitchens for the schools, and the kids actually prepare dishes in the classroom.
 
“They learn how to measure, for example – the teacher bring math into that. And children learn to eat well. It’s amazing how many children have been experienced eating fresh fruits and vegetables.”
 
The Hunger Solutions Task Force is looking to expand in coming months. They are already in Williamstown, and are in the process of adding classes in Belpre and the rest of Washington and Wood counties.
 
Meanwhile, the needs of area food pantries continue to grow. Steve Porter with the Marietta Community Food Pantry explained that, to a growing degree, local pantries are in competition with larger cities. They can no longer buy groceries at wholesale. In fact, they are paying near-market prices.
 
Donations and volunteers are welcomed and needed at all area pantries. A recent study revealed that 24 percent of children and 16 percent of all residents of Wood, Washington and surrounding counties have experienced food insecurity.
 
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