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Published: Tuesday, 5/19/2009

Meals offered farm-workers children

BLADE STAFF

Two Head Start centers that provide free meals to the preschool children of farm workers will open for the season in June.

Teaching and Mentoring Communities Head Start centers in Lake Township and Wauseon are geared toward children in migrant families, but any child of an agricultural family that meets federal income limits is eligible, said Tniesha Jones, the agency s Ohio nutrition coordinator.

The program is for ages 6 weeks to preschool, Ms. Jones said. The families don t necessarily have to migrate, however they must work in agriculture. The children who are preschool age transition to kindergarten from the Head Start program. It is an education-based program, as [are] all of the other community Head Starts. There is an education curriculum that is implemented.

For members of a family of four to be eligible for TMC Head Start meals, family income must not exceed $755 weekly, $3,269 monthly, or $39,220 annually.

For larger or smaller families, add or subtract $129 weekly, $555 monthly, or $6,660 annually per person to calculate the maximum.

Some people meeting that income cap would ordinarily be eligible only for reduced-price meals, instead of free meals, but TMC Head Start funds supplement money that is provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture s Child and Adult Care Food Program, Ms. Jones said.

The standards apply to the fiscal year that ends June 30.

Anyone who enrolls in the program by then will be eligible for the entire season, even if the standards change, she said.

Teaching and Mentoring Communities is required by law to comply with federal anti-discrimination policy, and any complaints may be made to the agriculture department s Office of Civil Rights in Washington.

The Wauseon TMC Head Start Center is at 845 East Leggett St., while the Lake Township facility, designated by TMC as being its Millbury center, is at 27588 Lemoyne Rd.

The Wauseon center is budgeted for 40 children, while the Lake Township center is budgeted for 70, Ms. Jones said.



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