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April 8, 2016
Did You Know
Backpack For Kids Program Targets Childhood Hunger
Each month, local schools supply critical weekend meals to 2,200 children through the Stark County Hunger Task Force's Backpack for Kids program. Students - identified through the free and reduced lunches program - receive a bag of food containing enough items for four, healthy, kid-friendly meals for Saturday and Sunday. Participating schools include Gibbs, Allen and Cedar (Canton City); Franklin (Massillon City); and Taft (Plain Local) Elementary Schools.
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College Food Insecurity - Students 
Helping Students

Each day in Stark County, one in six people do not have enough to eat, and one in four children go hungry. Close to 15% experience food insecurity choosing between paying bills or buying food.[1]

Hunger and poverty affect every sphere of life, including college. For example, in 2014 half of full-time, first-time undergraduate students at Kent State University Stark (KSU-Stark) and 70% at Stark State College (SSC) received Pell Grants. Most Pell Grants are awarded to students whose families make less than $30,000 annually.[2]

Students are directly addressing food insecurity at two Stark campuses. KSU-Stark Student Leadership and Activities Board (SLAB) began Flash's Food Pantry in response to research showing a growing need among college students. Open to faculty, staff and students, the Pantry has been used over 100 times since November 2015.[3] Their efforts were supported by Fishers Foods in Canton. "It's a great opportunity for students to take care of each other," said Ashley Brightbill, SLAB Advisor. 

SSC's Psi Beta, the psychology honor society, formed Students Serving Students Food Pantry. Their mission is to "empower students." Said Dr. Bryan Gerber, Psi Beta Advisor, "students developed the pantry and run it." Since November, 2015, they have served over 100 students. Rikki Kadri, Psi Beta President, explained that SSC's non-traditional students often face balancing school, work, family, finances and children, "when an obstacle arises, knowing that you aren't alone, and you have a group of peers to support you is a great asset. Our to provide food to students in need, be a support system,...and empower students, even if it is one meal at a time."

[3] In the interest of access and privacy, no identifying information is collected from patrons, and thus the number may include duplicates. 
About the Partnership Long Header
The Stark Education Partnership, Inc., is a 501(c)-3 non-profit education reform support organization in Stark County, Ohio crossing the lines of 17 public school districts. The Partnership collaborates with educators, business, community and civic leaders to create and respond to opportunities that will add substantial and measurable value to education. 

Questions or comments? Email or call 330-452-0829. Visit our website at
Stark Education Partnership, 400 Market Avenue North - Suite B, Canton, OH 44702
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