4th Annual ‘Artists Against Hunger’ soup luncheon raises funds for local Backpack Program
October—Across the country in our schools, teachers find that in some instances, Monday morning comes and they are forced to compete against hunger for the attention of their students. More than 18 million children in the U.S. qualify for free or reduced price meals through the National School Lunch Program, the fuel that they need to get them through the week. What happens to these children when they go home over the weekend?
The Backpack Food Program seeks to eliminate hunger on weekends for students in school districts by providing the students with non-perishable foods in backpacks.
Backpacks are filled with nutritious, easy-to-prepare, non-perishable food for students who are at-risk for hunger when free or reduced-price school lunches are not available.
Backpacks are discreetly distributed to deserving students—in easily accessible and safe environments—on the last day prior to a weekend or holiday vacation.
Right here in Hardin County, the program aims to help the 15.8 percent of the population that lives below the poverty line. In Kenton City Schools alone, 55 percent of students receive free or reduced lunches. Currently, there are more than 140 students at Kenton who are recipients of the Backpack Program.
School nurse Brenda Jennings, who is in charge of Hardin County’s program, said that there are children in the program in grades preschool through 12th grade. The discreet program allows those students to take home a bag of food twice a month to help feed them over a weekend. Each bag costs $3.90 and includes two breakfast items, two lunch items, two dinner items, and two snacks. The bags are provided by the West Ohio Food Bank.
The Artists Against Hunger luncheon offers the Hardin County community an opportunity to support the Backpack program in exchange for a delicious lunch and a handcrafted ceramic bowl made by students from Ohio Northern University and area high schools. The bowls are filled with soup chosen from a variety of kinds including minestrone, chicken noodle, butternut squash, and chili.
The luncheon will be held on Saturday, Nov. 16 at the Wilson Art Center on Ohio Northern University’s campus between 11a.m. and 2p.m.. Each bowl will be $10, and all proceeds will go to the Hardin County Backpack Program. In addition to lunch and the choice of a one-of-a-kind bowl, the community will be encouraged to participate in a weeklong food drive. The Non-perishable food items can be donated in various locations on ONU’s campus.
Mayumi Kiefer, studio arts student at Ohio Northern, founded the event three years ago in order to combine her two passions of helping others and creating art. Kiefer says she looked at all of the talent in the ONU Department of Art & Design and thought, “Why are we not using these things for a good cause?” As a result, Artists Against Hunger was born and raised approximately $1,100 in its debut. Last year, $2,200 was donated to the Backpack program. Kiefer, as well the rest of the ONU Department of Art & Design, are hopeful that this year’s event will be even more successful.
Originally designated as the School of Fine Arts and later the College of Fine Arts, the art & design program was first established as an independent academic unit at Ohio Northern in 1878, largely as an outgrowth of course work in engineering and architectural drawing. Today, Ohio Northern offers both the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees with majors in advertising design, art education, graphic design and studio arts with concentrations in two-dimensional, three-dimensional and pre-art therapy. The department of A&D holds memberships in national organizations such as the National Art Education Association, College Art Association, Foundations in Art: Theory and Education, AIGA: The Professional Association for Design, and the National Council on Education of Ceramic Arts. The department is recognized in the second and third editions of “Creative Colleges: A Guide for Student Actors, Artists, Dancers, Musicians and Writers” as one of the best creative programs nationwide. For additional information about the department of art & design or the University’s 2013–14 Arts Exhibition Season, contact the department at 419.772.2160.