ACCESS campaign targets child hunger – Medford News, Weather, Sports, Breaking News

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Jamie Lusch / Mail Tribune ACCESS volunteers and employees work out of its food warehouse on Aviation Way Friday in Medford.

For the Southern Oregon Regional Food Bank, the onset of summer vacation is a time of heightened worry rather than reduced worry.

With about half of Medford students enjoying a free or discounted lunch, summer marks a time when “food insecure” children no longer have access to a nutritious meal every day, according to the director of the school. ‘ACCESS Advancement, Kellie Battaglia.

“Our concern is that with the end of school… that ‘meal for sure’ is lost,” Battaglia said.

Concerned about children’s nutrition, ACCESS is launching a new envelope campaign that aims to raise $ 25,000 – enough money to buy 100,000 meals through the nonprofit organization’s partnership with the food bank of the Oregon. Addressed envelopes will be included in the Sunday edition of the Mail Tribune, but individuals can also visit accesshelps.org/donate.

Bret Champion, Superintendent of Medford School District 549C, shares concerns about children’s nutrition.

“Some children don’t have a hot meal when they get home,” he said. “There is definitely a need for food security in the Medford School District. “

During the school year, all students have access to free meals which include a scheduled lunch and an optional breakfast. While the school district plans to roll out a packed lunch program that will be available Monday through Thursday this summer at eight sites that have yet to be announced, Champion acknowledged that “the numbers are not as strong” as the meals served during school. district.

“The kids have yet to get there – it can be a struggle,” he said. “We have a captive audience when the kids are in school. “

Champion described children’s nutrition as “a primary need” and essential for academic success.

“If you think about how we as adults feel when we miss lunch… the kids are exactly the same,” he said. “This is one of the reasons we love our local pantries.

Marcee Champion, Bret Champion’s wife, worked for nonprofit pantries in the Houston, Texas area and is now the Food Programs Manager for ACCESS.

She said when a family is struggling financially, food becomes one of the first ways families cut costs.

“Children don’t have their own ability to get nutritious food,” Champion Marcee said. “They have to rely on other family members. “

The non-profit organization helps 1 in 4 Jackson County residents each year, and about a third of those 57,000 last year were children, according to figures provided by Battaglia. The association distributed 5.5 million pounds of food in 2020, including through 65,000 boxes of emergency food.

Marcee Champion and Battaglia each noted that the nonprofit is still helping people in need who have been affected by the Almeda and South Obenchain fires, or who have lost their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic. .

“So many people haven’t recovered from the fires,” Battaglia said. “There are a lot of families who have been left behind.

Battaglia said canned food drives help, but monetary donations give them the power to buy the food they need for the people they serve, especially as they focus on distributing food. more nutritious, but perishable foods.

The nonprofit organization will help any Jackson County resident who meets certain income requirements. For information and resources, call 541-779-6991 or visit accesshelps.org.

Contact reporter Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or [email protected] Follow him on twitter @MTCrimeBeat.





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