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Pandemic Creating Food Insecurity For Adults And Children In Cleveland And Throughout Ohio

A volunteer helps transfer perishable food to local food banks in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, March 19, 2020, in Cincinnati.  [Jason Whitman / Shutterstock]
A volunteer helps transfer perishable food to local food banks in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, March 19, 2020, in Cincinnati. [Jason Whitman / Shutterstock]

It has been a week since federal agents took Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder into custody as part of an investigation into a $60 million racketeering case.  Householder faces conspiracy to commit racketeering charges. Federal prosecutors say the investigation and charges are in connection to the passage of House Bill 6 ---also known as the nuclear bailout bill-- that made its way through the Ohio General Assembly last year.

We check in with our team at the Ohio Statehouse News Bureau on the fallout from the investigation and efforts to potentially repeal House Bill and tighten laws to prevent so-called dark-money donations in state politics.

As the new school year approaches, many parents are concerned about what their district will do in terms of re-opening.  Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has given districts the latitude to determine their own plans rather than a one-size-fits-all plan from the state.  Districts are considering whether to put students and teachers back in class, continue remote learning that began in the spring or a hybrid model using both in-person and on-line learning.  In addition, some districts have pushed back the start date of school as well.

Cleveland Metropolitan School District CEO Eric Gordon took some by surprise last week when he announced at a University Hospitals forum that his district would be fully remote for at least the first nine weeks of the school year. CMSD serves nearly 40,000 students, many of whom are low-income and may have challenges in accessing remote learning materials and instruction.  Ideastream’s Education Reporter Jenny Hammel walks us through the Cleveland reopening plan.

The United States is a giant in terms of food production, but more than 54 million people, including 18 million children, may experience food insecurity in 2020.

Across Ohio, record numbers of individuals and families are seeking supplies at food banks. Employees report they are seeing new people every day.  Many of those seeking help have never had to do so before for themselves and their families.   We discuss the need from both a Cleveland and Ohio perspective with food bank representatives.

Help in feeding hungry Ohioans is also coming from the philanthropic community.  The pandemic led to the creation of emergency funds to help provide necessities and resources to Northeast Ohioans.  The Cleveland Foundation created the Greater Cleveland COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund to keep money flowing to area non-profits.  A few community development corporations used their shares of the fund to create free meal programs. We talk to those helping and those receiving help.

Andy Chow, Reporter, Ohio Public Radio Statehouse News Bureau 
Jenny Hamel, Education Reporter, Ideastream 
Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, Executive Director, Ohio Association of Foodbanks  
Jessica Morgan, Vice President of Agency Programs and Services, Greater Cleveland Food Bank  
Karis Tzeng,  AsiaTown Project manager,  MidTown Cleveland, Inc. 
Jessica Trivisonno, Director of Economic Development, Detroit-Shoreway Community Development Organization and Cuddell Improvement, Inc.  
Ernie Shinault, West Side resident  

For More Information:

Cleveland Food Bank Help Line:  216-738-2067

Cleveland Food Bank

Ohio Assocation of Food Banks How to Give/Receive Help