HAMILTON, Ohio — More Ohio families are trying to find help to feed their children after pandemic relief funds for families come to a close. 

What You Need To Know

  • School summer meal programs across the state are seeing a record number of meals served 
  • Schools in Ohio are still receiving state money to provide meals, but families who were getting extra pandemic fund for groceries will no longer get the benefit this summer

  • Many families say the summer meal program helps to fill the gap 

Alma Schlichter, a mother of three, said feeding her kids in the summer is neither easy nor cheap. 

“It’s a struggle because all they want to do is eat all day long,” said Schlichter. 

That’s why for the first time, she brought them to a place where her kids can eat for free. 

“It’s a wonderful help to get food for the kids,” she said. 

The Hamilton City School District is running a summer food truck and going to splash parks across the area to help feed families. Lisa Lantry, the dining services director, said they’re seeing a record number of meals served.

“We have had record numbers from day one. The most that we did last year was 156 at any site and this year our first day, we had 232,” said Lantry. 

Lantry said so far they’ve been able to keep up with the need because of a program through the Ohio Department of Education . 

“Hamilton City Schools is on a community eligibility provision, so it's called the CEP program. That program allows us to feed all of our students at no cost,” said Lantry.

However, families with children receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, and those with children under six-years-old, are no longer eligible for the federal Pandemic-Electronic Benefit Transfer program (P-EBT) now that the pandemic has been declared over. Otherwise, eligible children will receive a single payment of $120 by the end of June to help pay for summer food. 

For parents like Schlichter, it means pinching pennies wherever she can.

“Make sure you get the best deals. You got to see me go to different stores. That's what I do. You try to get coupons, try to get as much as you can with the struggles,” said Schlichter. 

The Hamilton city schools food truck will be making stops in neighborhoods three times a week throughout the summer. To find more information on where they’ll be, click here.