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Anti-hunger group kicks off campaign for bigger kitchen

Feed lucas county children celebrates milestone

  • Children-participating-in-the-anniversary-celebration

    Children participating in the anniversary celebration at the Gonzalez Center let off some steam in a bounce house.

    The Blade/Katie Rausch
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  • Children-let-off-steam-in-a-bounce-house

    Children let off steam in a bounce house. In addition to its anniversary, the organization marked its 1 millionth meal served.

    The Blade Katie Rausch
    Buy This Image

Children-participating-in-the-anniversary-celebration

Children participating in the anniversary celebration at the Gonzalez Center let off some steam in a bounce house.

The Blade/Katie Rausch
Enlarge | Buy This Image

Feed Lucas County Children needs a new kitchen to win the war on childhood hunger.

The nonprofit group, which supplies nutritional meals to children in need, has served more than one million meals since its beginnings a decade ago.

Executive Director and founder Tony Siebeneck wants to help more hungry children, but he said the program is at maximum capacity at its kitchen in the former Macomber High School, 1502 Monroe St.

"Feed Lucas County Children was founded with the dream of relieving and eliminating hunger for at-risk children in Lucas County," he said.

Children-let-off-steam-in-a-bounce-house

Children let off steam in a bounce house. In addition to its anniversary, the organization marked its 1 millionth meal served.

The Blade Katie Rausch
Enlarge | Buy This Image

During a celebration to recognize 10 years of operation and its millionth meal served, the group announced a fund-raising campaign to support moving into larger quarters with a kitchen designed to treble its meal output.

Feed Lucas County Children provides cooked lunches for children at 83 sites countywide, including summer camps, sports clubs, churches, and community centers.

This summer the organization, funded by grants and private donations, was on schedule to serve 200,000 meals to children.

Board member Stephen Goldman said a bigger space will help meet increasing demand and could help the group eliminate child starvation locally.

"This is not what we have done in the past. This is about securing our future.… We need your help and we need your support," Mr. Goldman, a retired college professor, said during the anniversary party hosted by the Believe Center at the Aurora Gonzalez Building in South Toledo, near South Avenue and the Anthony Wayne Trail.

Emily Laurel, the group's development coordinator who came to Feed Lucas County Children through the AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) Program, said the new building's kitchen would allow the program to expand from 7,000 meals a day to 20,000.

"There is no room for them to grow at their current location. But there is an increasing need for their services every day," she said. "Every day more and more organizations are calling us and asking us to come help them and serve these children. But we have to turn them down."

According to 2010 census data Ms. Laurel cited, Lucas County has at least 30,000 youths ages 18 and under who are at the poverty line or below.

Along with a larger kitchen, Ms. Laurel said the proposed facility would have space for storage, community gatherings, and a dining area. It is expected to be between 20,000 and 24,000 square feet and cost about $1.5 million.

Although a location has not been chosen, the facility would be new construction or an existing building that could be easily renovated, she said.

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