Donatos Delivers Smiles to Go, Lunch!

On July 16 and 17, Donatos Pizza donated dozens of pizzas to the East Columbus and Livingston Elementary Schools’ Go, Lunch! sites. Thanks to Donatos, more than 200 kids in central Ohio were given free pizza for lunch. The Go, Lunch! program provides free meals to kids throughout the summer and expects to serve a half-million meals this summer. Donatos helped contribute to the program’s goal of feeding kids and adding some fun with their donation of pizzas. 

Donatos means “to give a good thing” in Latin, and each location makes it a goal to live up to this definition. The company’s efforts towards giving back to the community are evident in their recent donation of pizza to the elementary schools. Thanks to the generosity of Donatos and other places in Columbus like Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, Columbus Museum of Art, COSI, and many other local partners, Franklin County children have safe, fun activities throughout the summer. Local organizations like the ones listed above are the reason why Go, Lunch! is the largest free summer lunch program in Ohio. 

When I visited East Columbus Elementary on July 16, I was pleased to see such an energetic and safe place for the kids to spend their summer. I walked in to see a presentation from Ohio Wildlife Center. The presenters were teaching and showing kids some of the local animals found in Columbus such as turtles and chipmunks. After the presentation, the kids excitedly waited for Donatos Pizza as they played on the playground. When the pizza arrived, the kids sat down and waited as the pizza was handed out. Kids ages 3-16 were there and could not have been more excited about their afternoon pizza party.

This event with Donatos is what as known as a “spike” event--planned to spike attendance. Attendance at Go, Lunch! sites typically decline after Fourth of July, so the site leaders look for ways to to excite children and increase participation. Donatos was happy to step in and donate pizzas! In addition to the Ohio Wildlife Center presentation and pizza, there were snow cones, face painting and a photo booth. Other sites such as Trevitt Elementary School and Eakin Elementary School paired with the ArtMobile, who brought hands-on art activities, as their means of trying to spike attendance.

Go, Lunch! will be serving lunch and offering activities for kids through August. Because participation hours and days vary, please text “FOOD” to 877877 to find a site closest to you and call for specific information.

By JD Mooney, Irvin PR

@donatospizza 
@ohiowildlifecenter 

Be sure to follow Go, Lunch! on Facebook and Instagram

Facebook.com/GoLunchCbus 

Instagram: instagram.com/golunchcbus  



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Serving Summer Fun On a Plate---literally

Throughout the summer our blog will showcase some of the many, Go, Lunch! summer meal sites. There are over 200 sites serving free meals and snacks throughout Franklin County this summer so unfortunately, we won’t be able to write about ALL of them.  Please be sure you are following Go, Lunch! on social media where we will be sharing more information and details about all the fun places Go, Lunch! will be this summer.

  • Facebook: facebook.com/GoLunchCbus 

  • Instagram: instagram.com/golunchcbus  

  • Twitter: twitter.com/GoLunchCbus  

There are many Go, Lunch! sites throughout Franklin County however, there is one in particular that is approaching the issue of summer hunger in a different and unique way. SON Ministries is an organization that helps kids and families in suburbs (particularly Hilliard). The organization’s goal is to help those in the community create a better society by teaching valuable skills to the younger generation. SON Ministries offers a Summer Lunch Camp where kids participate in activities and receive a free breakfast and lunch. One unique program teaches kids how to prepare food and how to operate a restaurant. The student-run restaurants, each with a different dining concept, are Fine Foods (American cookout foods), Horiz-N’ Shine (breakfast foods) and Taco Bell Jr. (Mexican-style family meals). The restaurants are open to anyone in the community at no charge. At these restaurants, students control every aspect from the name, the style of food, the decorations, and the music.

 I got to visit the SON Ministries location at Hilliard Church of Christ and enjoy a lunch at Taco Bell Jr. As soon as I pulled up to the church, I could see signs and posters guiding me to the entrance of Taco Bell Jr. When I walked into the building, I was immediately greeted by the student hostesses, walked to my seat, and given a menu. The room was decorated with various decor such as streamers, signs, and a larger-than-life taco made of craft supplies.

 Soon after being seated, my waiter came out and gave us appetizers, drinks, and took our order. It was a great to see all of the kids being so excited to run every aspect of the restaurant. For my entreé, the kids prepared chicken fajitas and a side of rice and beans. The students were ecstatic to have so many people in their restaurant, and it was amazing to see all the kids working together, as one unit, to achieve a similar goal. 

The lunch at the restaurant is free; however, donations are encouraged to make sure SON Ministries can continue its invaluable services. Taco Bell Jr. is open on Wednesdays; however, the other SON Ministries restaurant locations are open different days of the week and offer different types of food. It was truly a great experience to visit one of the locations and see kids learning how to prepare and serve their own food.

To make reservations, visit http://son-ministries.org and click on the link that says, “Children’s Entrepreneurial Restaurants 2019” but don’t wait---reservations fill up quickly and the restaurants will soon close for the season. 

By JD Mooney, Irvin PR



Summer July 4th Fun...

The Fourth of July is a day that truly captures the feeling of summer: watching the fireworks, spending time with family and friends, and enjoying ultimate summer foods like hot dogs and popsicles. AlthoughGo, Lunch! sites will be closed on July 4, 2019, there is no need to feel bummed because Columbus offers many free and inexpensive activities for the whole family.

No July 4th celebration is complete without viewing fireworks and many central Ohio suburbs such as Clintonville, Worthington, and Gahanna combine theirs with festivals, food trucks and family-friendly activities.  

Columbus on the Cheap, an online resource for free and economical events and activities has put together a great list of Independence day Family Fun that begins June 29-July 4, https://www.columbusonthecheap.com/fireworks-celebrations-around-columbus/.  A list of area fireworks to check out is below (of course, Red, White & Boom, the largest Independence Day fireworks display in the Midwest, is held on July 3rd and is not to be missed).

Fireworks

  • BEXLEY- Capital University 10pm

  • CLINTONVILLE- Whetstone Park 10pm

  • DELAWARE-Ohio Wesleyan University 10pm

  • DUBLIN- Dublin Coffman High School Stadium at 9:45pm

  • GAHANNA- Gahanna Municipal Golf Course 10pm

  •  GROVE CITY- Grove City High School Football stadium, 10pm

  • HILLIARD – Roger Reynolds Municipal Park, dusk

  • LANCASTER – Fairfield County Fairground at 10pm

  • MARYSVILLE- Union County Fairgrounds at dusk

  • MT. VERNON- Ariel-Fountain Park 10pm

  • NEW ALBANY-Church of the Resurrection, dusk

  • SUNBURY/BIG WALNUT- Big Walnut High School at dusk

  • UPPER ARLINGTON- Northam Park 10pm

  • WESTERVILLE – Alum Creek South Park, dusk

  • WORTHINGTON- Thomas Worthington High School football stadium, dusk

  • WORTHINGTON HILLS- This year, no fireworks- instead drone show at Worthington Hills Elementary at dusk

 Did you know that the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium is open every day of the year? On July 4th, the Zoo will offer free admission to families with retired/active members of the military. How about having a picnic at one Columbus’ beautiful free public gardens? The Park of Roses (only one of several local parks) in Clintonville includes 12,000 roses providing an amazing (and free) backdrop for a family outdoor gathering. If the weather cooperates, a visit to one of our local splashpads offers a fun (and sometimes free) way to cool off.  You can check out the list here: https://www.columbusonthecheap.com/splash-pads-columbus/

You can see there are many fun things to do on July 4th--Go, Lunch! sites will be serving up food and fun on July 5th. 

by JD Mooney

Throughout the summer our blog will showcase some of the many, Go, Lunch!summer meal sites. There are over 200 sites serving free meals and snacks throughout Franklin County this summer so unfortunately, we won’t be able to write about ALL of them.  Please be sure you are following Go, Lunch! on social media where we will be sharing more information and details about all the fun places Go, Lunch!will be this summer.

  • Facebook: facebook.com/GoLunchCbus

  • Instagram: instagram.com/golunchcbus

     

 

 

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Meet ETSS

Throughout the summer our blog will showcase some of the many, Go, Lunch!summer meal sites. There are over 200 sites serving free meals and snacks throughout Franklin County this summer so unfortunately, we won’t be able to write about ALL of them.  Please be sure you are following Go, Lunch!on social media where we will be sharing more information and details about all the fun places Go, Lunch!will be this summer.

  • Facebook: facebook.com/GoLunchCbus

  • Instagram: instagram.com/golunchcbus

Go, Lunch! provides nearly half a million meals to children in Franklin County throughout the summer. The Ethiopian Tewahedo Social Services (ETSS) is an organization with seven locations that helps immigrants and refugees “establish roots and gain self-sufficiency in Central Ohio.”  ETSS is one of Go, Lunch!’s largest free summer meal providers and services 300+ children.

Tewahedo is a Ge’ez (the liturgical language of the Ethiopian church) word that means unity, and it is evident that ETSS places emphasis on unity and family. During a recent visit to ETSS Wedgewood-- it is obvious that they are one big family that enjoys helping out each other and the community. 

ETSS' locations are strategically placed in areas that are heavy in immigrants or refugees who are struggling to find food and create a living. They have partnered with Go, Lunch!to provide summer meals to children of immigrant families to help them get on their feet. The organization firmly believes that a healthy meal is one of the most important steps in creating a strong community. 

Jared Buerger, Lead Youth Program Coordinator for ETSS, said that the Wedgewood location is important because the community is like a “food desert.” A food desert is somewhere that lacks access to meals that are healthy and substantial (other ETSS sites are located in food dessert areas as well). The closest grocery store to the Wedgewood location is miles away, making it difficult to those without a car or driver’s license to buy healthy food for their family. 

Go, Lunch! alleviates this barrier by bringing healthy food directly to ETSS locations. Without Go, Lunch!, many kids surrounding ETSS locations would not have food during the summer months. 

Along with providing breakfast and lunch, ETSS sites offer many academic activities that help combat the issue of kids forgetting material they learned the previous year (summer slide). Buerger says that they try to integrate learning into fun activities such as Friday field-trips to places like the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and COSI. Exemplifying the commitment to their community, children at the Wedgewood site recently spent the day cleaning up the area around the school. According to Buerger, all of the kids pitched in and one of the kids even said, “If you love the world you got to clean it.” This is an example of how ETSS is teaching the kids how to be productive community members. 

Overall, ETSS is putting forth its full efforts to help immigrants and refugees become self-sufficient andGo, Lunch! has immensely helped the organization in achieving this goal.

ETSS funders: Franklin County Board of Commissioners, Adam H, Homeport, OCCH, and Resident Resource Network.

Special thanks to ETSS’ Jarred Buerger and Jason Maageria for sharing its story. 

Written by JD Mooney, Irvin PR

 

 

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Save the "Slide" for the Playground!

Throughout the summer our blog will showcase some of the many,Go, Lunch! summer meal sites. There are over 200 sites serving free meals and snacks throughout Franklin County this summer so unfortunately, we won’t be able to write about ALL of them.  Please be sure you are following Go, Lunch!on social media where we will be sharing more information and details about all the fun places Go, Lunch!will be this summer.

  • Facebook: facebook.com/GoLunchCbus 

  • Instagram: instagram.com/golunchcbus   

Summer is the time of year that is anticipated by most children. The thought of sitting at the pool, licking a sugary popsicle, making your hands sticky excites those of all ages. Summer is a time for students to relax and take a break from the long days spent in fluorescent-lit classrooms; however, studies have shown that students lose many of their skills learned in the previous year at school during summer break. This phenomenon of a student’s decline in reading ability and other academic skills is known as “summer slide.” 

According to Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA), a research-based non-profit organization that measures growth and proficiency in schools, students test scores decline from spring to fall because of the lack of brain activity over the summer break. This lack of brain activity in students during the summer is a problem that is faced by the long break.   

Summer also poses issues to those who rely on their school’s meal program to provide breakfast and lunch during the school year. Without school in session, many students lack access to nourishing meals. Lack of food during the summertime can lead to a dramatic decline in information retained from the previous school year because of foods essential role in retaining and learning new information. Columbus Recreation and Parks Department and partners throughout Franklin County are committed to offering a solution to this problem throughGo, Lunch!

Go, Lunch! 
provides meals for those under 18 who don’t have access to food during the summer. Go, Lunch! has more than 200 meal sites in Franklin County and expects to serve ½ million meals this summer. The program offers a safe place for many students to have fun and enjoy a free meal.  Columbus Metropolitan Libraries  account for 15 of the Go, Lunch! locations.    

Columbus Metropolitan Libraries are combating the issue of summer slide and summertime hunger by providing brain-stimulating as well as meals and snacks through Go, Lunch!. A day at one of the participating Go, Lunch! library locations may entail a storytime followed up by a lunch that consists of a sandwich and a healthy side such as cheese or fruit. The Columbus Metropolitan Libraries offer an array of activities June-August like The Summer Reading Program, which encourages students to read books that pertain to their interests by offering fun prizes is always popular. The library also offers other stimulating activities such as crafts and visits to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. According to Ben Zenitsky, marketing and communication specialist for Columbus Metropolitan Libraries, “Columbus Metropolitan Library is committed to keeping young minds reading over the summer.”  A visit to any Columbus Metropolitan Library demonstrates its commitment to combating summer slide and partnering with Go, Lunch! ensures academic and nutrition needs are met simultaneously.

Columbus Metropolitan Library locations providing free lunch and/or snack this summer include: Driving Park, Franklinton, Hilltop, Karl Road, Linden, Livingston, Main Library, Martin Luther King, Northern Lights, Parsons, Reynoldsburg, Shepard, Southeast, South High, and Whitehall.

Go, Lunch! is the largest free summer meal program in Ohio.  Find a meal site in your neighborhood by calling 1-866-3-HUNGRY OR TEXT “FOOD” to 877877. 

Written by JD Mooney, Irvin Public Relations