Food Backpacks Available For Vinton County Youth

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Young people living in Vinton County can take home free backpacks of food meant to last a weekend. The backpacks are available to all children ages 2-18, and can be picked up on Fridays from 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Sojourners Youth Summer Feeding Program sites, at Central, South, and West Elementary schools.

The backpacks contain nutritious shelf-stable meals, snacks and milk. They are packed by employees in a sheltered workshop in Toledo for Vista Food Exchange, a young entrepreneurial business located in Ohio. The company uses locally sourced food whenever possible. Funding for the program is provided with funds made available by Ohio Governor John Kasich and the Governor’s Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives.

“Everything about the Backpack Program is a win-win. Vinton County children get great food to take home for the weekend, 90 developmentally disadvantaged adults are provided jobs, Ohio food producers can sell their products, and a new Ohio business is able to bring revenue into the state. Sojourners is really happy to be part of this process and make these backpacks available to our community’s kids,” said Shelly Horvath, Sojourners director of communications.

The Sojourners AmeriCorps VISTA Program, which is funded through the Corporation for National and Community Service, provides six Summer Associates who coordinate the Youth Summer Feeding Program. The Youth Summer Feeding Program is funded through a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Sojourners is an asset-based youth development organization serving Appalachian Ohio. A non-profit organization founded early in 1999, Sojourners fosters positive opportunities for children and young adults living in some of the most distressed counties of Appalachia. The organization provides a variety of programs including: foster care and adoption, runaway and homeless youth services, employment training, diploma and GED support, mentoring, leadership training, and service learning opportunities.

For more information contact Evette Bethel at (740) 418-0258.