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5th Annual ‘Artists Against Hunger’ soup luncheon to raise 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 31 million children in the U.S. (2012) 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 during Saturday and Sunday when they aren’t in school and unable to participate in the national lunch program. Each bag contains two breakfast items, two lunches, two dinners, two snacks, and two drinks.

Backpacks are discreetly distributed to deserving students—in easily accessible and safe environments—on the last day prior to a weekend or holiday vacation. Each item is kid-friendly and can be prepared by the child if necessary.

Right here in Hardin County, the Central Church of Christ now operates the Backpack Program through the Kenton City Schools for the 2014–15 school year. Pastor Willis Moe says the meals sent home with the students are designed to get them through the weekend. “The food is sent home with the student on the third and fourth Fridays of the month so that they have something [to eat] through the weekend. Lot of them are on fixed income or assistance programs, and when you get to the end of the month, it gets pretty slim.” The bags are provided by the West Ohio Food Bank.

The Artists Against Hunger soup 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 faculty, alumni and students from Ohio Northern University. The bowls are filled with homemade soup chosen from a variety of kinds including minestrone, chicken noodle, butternut squash, and chili.

The luncheon will be held on Saturday, Nov. 15 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, a studio arts/ceramic student at Ohio Northern, founded the event four years ago in order to combine her two passions—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, a  record $3,100 was donated to the Backpack program. Kiefer, as well the rest of the Art & Design students and faculty, 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 “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 2014–15 Arts Exhibition Season, contact the department at 419.772.2160.