Bengals’ foundations draw attention to food insecurity

The following is this week’s update from the director of the Hamilton County Department of Jobs and Family Services, Michael Patton. It has been edited to fit content and format guidelines of the Cincinnati Chapter of United Resource Connection.

“What a time to live in Cincinnati and be a Bengals fan! Our team has brought so much joy and celebration to a city that hasn’t seen post-season football in decades. Thank you to our hometown team for bringing us positive energy, pride and confidence when we really needed a boost.

I also want to thank the Bengals and fans for something else – for bringing attention to the issue of food insecurity.

As you might know, our quarterback, Joe Burrow, mentioned during his 2019 Heisman Trophy acceptance speech that many people around his hometown in Athens County don’t have enough food. The Joe Burrow Hunger Relief Fund, created shortly thereafter, now stands at more than $1.5 million, thanks in part to Bengals fans inspired by JB9 and the team’s great season.

Defensive end Sam Hubbard’s Ohio Fed campaign works to fight food insecurity as well. It has provided more than 250,000 meals through the Freestore Foodbank. Each of his Ohio Fed shirts sold provides another 14 meals.

We at JFS see people struggle every day with food insecurity and we step in to fill the gap. More than 100,000 Hamilton County residents currently receive monthly SNAP benefits. Almost half of those are children. The program supplements what low-income adults and families already spend on food and helps them buy healthy items.

But there’s cause for concern. Because of the pandemic, recipients’ monthly amounts have been higher for the past two years. Those increases end in late June, meaning families will have less to spend at the grocery.

Let’s turn this attention to food insecurity into action. Please consider helping Joe Burrow’s Hunger Relief Fund, the Ohio Fed campaign, our partners at the Freestore Foodbank or a food pantry in your neighborhood. Volunteers and donations are always needed.

Thank you and Who Dey!”

 

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