Ohio's First Lady Talks Summer Lunches and Ways to Reduce Infant Mortality

Fran Dewine is sitting at a table with two girls while preparing to eat a sandwich prepared by The Greater Cleveland Food Bank for the Summer Meals program.
Fran DeWiine, First Lady of Ohio, eating lunch with children at Collinwood Library during the summer lunch program. [Darrielle Snipes / ideastream]

Ohio’s First Lady, Fran DeWine, wants to bring a program to Cuyahoga County that could help reduce the number of premature births and increase a baby’s chance of celebrating its first birthday.

Moms2B is a Columbus-based program that provides weekly education and support to high-risk pregnant women.

"They're always served a good meal," DeWine said. "There's someone there to watch their other children while they gather around in a circle and they learn... One of the days I was there, there was a lactation consultant there. And what I really saw is these mothers were bonding. We really think that we can replicate that we can bring it to Cleveland, we can bring it to other places in the state.”

In the first quarter of 2019, Cuyahoga County reported an increase in the infant mortality rate to 10 deaths per 1,000 live births, up from 8.5 last year.

DeWine was in town touring the Greater Cleveland Food Bank and Collinwood Public Library to see how their partnership is helping to feed children during the summer break.

The Food Bank is sponsoring more than 100 summer meal sites in Northeast Ohio including 28 Cleveland Public Library branches.

 DeWine had lunch with some children at the library and exmpisized it is important the kids get at least one balanced meal a day during the summer.

“They really need that one meal a day that they're guaranteed that they'll get,” she said. “It's a good balanced meal but there's enough in it that if you didn't like the peas there is something else they may like. But it's a very balanced meal with lots of fruits and vegetables, and I think that's important. We need to teach our kids to eat well when we are feeding them.”

The Food Bank last year served more than 200,000 meals to students during the summer months.

 The Summer Meals Program is funded through the USDA's Child Nutrition Act of 1966 and requires children eat their sack lunch on site.

The program runs through August 9, 2019.



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