Fulfilling a need

Kids who need a helping hand in the Groveport Madison area are not going to go hungry this summer.

Groveport Madison Local Schools, in partnership with the Groveport Madison Human Needs Council, plans to provide free lunches for eligible disadvantaged children Monday through Friday from June 16 to Aug. 15 (except for July 4).

"We are thrilled that we will be able to provide these children with lunches this summer," said Donna Drury, a member of the the Groveport Madison Human Needs Council. "This will make summer brighter for them and help them be better prepared for when school starts this fall."

Drury said children ages 1-18 currently enrolled in Groveport Madison’s free or reduced breakfast/lunch program are eligible.

The free lunch program will start at Sedalia Elementary, 5400 Sedalia Drive, on June 16 and then will move to Middle School North, 5474 Sedalia Drive, on July 1. Lunch will be served from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the school cafeteria.

"We sent out letters to over 1,000 students on Friday at Asbury, Dunloe, Sedalia and Middle School North," Chris Bowser, Groveport Madison supervisor of public information. "Families must provide their own transportation to the site."

Only the cafeterias will be open and there will be no other school activities associated with the lunches.

For information call Bowser at 492-2520.

Volunteers needed

Drury said volunteers are being sought to help with the free lunch program this summer. Anyone interested in volunteering should call Rob Spicer at Groveport Zion Lutheran Church at (614) 836-5611. There will be a volunteer training session held in Columbus on June 12.

"Volunteers should meet on June 12 at 1 p.m. at Groveport Zion Lutheran Church, 6014 Groveport Road to car pool to the training session," said Drury.

The numbers

Earlier this year, Groveport Madison Schools Superintendent Scott McKenzie said that, from 1999 to 2004, the poverty rate in Ohio rose from 12 to 17 percent and the percentage of kids living in poverty rose by 7 percent during that same period.

"We definitely see that reflected in the Groveport Madison school district," said McKenzie.

According to Groveport Madison officials, there are 3,002 students on the free or reduced lunch program.

"That’s nearly half of the students in the school district," said Drury.

The percentages of students in each of the district’s 10 buildings receiving free or reduced cost lunches are: Asbury, 64.8 percent; Dunloe, 56.3 percent; Glendening, 53.1 percent; Groveport, 48.9 percent; Madison, 57.4 percent; Sedalia, 65.5 percent; Middle School North, 62.7 percent; Middle School South, 48.9 percent; junior high, 53.4 percent; and the high school, 46 percent.

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