CLEVELAND — Children’s Hunger Alliance is a nonprofit that partners with family child care providers, daycare centers, school districts, and afterschool and summer nutrition programs to help provide healthy meals and snacks for children in their care.
What You Need To Know
- More than 500,000 children in Ohio live in food insecure homes, meaning 1 in 5 don't know where their next meal will come from
- Children's Hunger Alliance is a nonprofit organization that partners with family childcare providers and others to help provide healthy meals and snacks for children
- Kids of The Future Daycare Center in Cleveland is one of those daycares
- Owner Margueretta McPherson goes above and beyond to help the children in her daycare center
In Cleveland, the city that recently made headlines for being the poorest big city according to the U.S. Census Bureau, that need is even more real.
While 4-year-old children in Kids of the Future Daycare on the west side of Cleveland are stomping and jumping out their pre-lunchtime energy, owner Margueretta McPherson works in the kitchen helping her teachers prepare meals.
“We start by giving them fruit, whole grain cereal, oatmeal,” said McPherson.
Not just any meals, but colorful and nutritious ones.
“A lot of the families in the inner city, they struggle. They don’t have a lot of money. They don’t have a lot of food stamps, and the children are coming here literally hungry, and so I want to make sure I feed the kids everyday with no problem. They’re going to eat when they come to the daycare center,” said McPherson.
“I came from the suburbs about 21 years ago. I came to the Cleveland inner city, and I was told, ‘Why do you want to come into the inner city?’ and I said to myself that everybody deserves quality child care, and that’s why I came and that’s why I stayed,” said McPherson.
McPherson said her goals are proper care and proper nutrition for the young children so they may stay as vibrant and energetic as they are now.
And while they enjoy the typical favorites, the kids also appreciate the healthy foods they're served.
"I like ice cream,” said one of the kids.
"I love vegetables,” said another kid.
Healthy foods like fruits and vegetables are something they might never get at home.
Kids of the Future Daycare is one of more than 50 daycares in Ohio that partner with Children’s Hunger Alliance to help some of the more than 500,000 children who face food insecurity in Ohio. McPherson buys all the food for her kids, but Children’s Hunger Alliance acts as a backbone.
“They give you all the tools necessary that you need to make sure the kids are being served healthy food, healthy snacks, healthy meals,” McPherson said.
From helping school-age children to little babies, McPherson does what she does out of love and care for kids and families, putting the needs of others above her own.
“It really bothers me that so many people here in Cleveland are hungry. Nobody should be hungry, nobody should be hungry,” McPherson said. “We should have to pull our resources together and try to figure out a way that we can make this poverty situation go away.”