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Nicole and Lacy,
Thank you so much for joining this conversation.
Lacy, I apologize for not getting back to you sooner. I was in the hospital for three days and lost a lot of blood due to GI bleeding. Now, I am low on energy at the most critical time of the year for our children - late July with no school and the well-meaning but ill-advised July 4 food blow-outs that cause families to run out of food even earlier than usual in the month.
My colleagues teach cooking, life skills, "waiting for sex", the evils of substance abuse, recreational activities, budgeting, etc. but these only reach children and adults by the tens, not by the thousands who are food insecure. At its simplest calculation, our zip code has an immediate food deficit in July due to 21 missed school weekdays with about 1,000 elementary school children missing 1,150 calories a day = 24 million calories. Hunger also occurs late during school months so 24 million calories is a minimal starting point for calorie replacement.
Yesterday, we distributed about 15 million calories on the streets of the zip code. We have about another 12 million calories already in sacks. We hope this will provide food support at such a high level that our food will trickle out to the majority of children (of all ages) in our low-income zip code (less than $15,000 median household income) during this week. We are scheduled to pack about 13 million more calories for next week. In our nine years of developing our systems, we have never had this much money so we hope to see improved reading gains (beyond the 64% proficiency improvement we have seen so far) and improved birth outcomes.
Lacy, you are right about lots of things affecting birth outcomes. I wonder if you could validate some analysis I have done regarding birth outcomes. For the last 1,000 births in the 12 Cincinnati zip codes where >90% of elementary-age students receive free lunch (a proxy for food insecurity), about 170 births have been preterm. In the 5 zip codes where <80% of elementary-age students receive free lunch, the last 1,000 births have only included about 115 preterm births. According to March of Dimes, a preterm birth costs $50,000 more than a normal birth. This makes a cost of $2.75 million. I forget the number but we have far more than 1,000 births a year in our 12 worst zip codes yet our program would only cost about $1.2 million a year.
Our program might only apply to the zip codes with the worst food security and might not improve birth outcomes in the <80% zip codes because of all the other factors. We only know we started with the worst zip code and this has improved 16%.
 
 As well as the calories and the best nutrition we can afford, any food provides hope and this empowers low-income people by the thousands. Then their improvements come from within, including less need to rely on unsafe activities and more food in their stomachs to go for job interviews, hold down jobs, etc.
Our food is there before a pregnancy is recognized and WIC can be requested. Prior to conception and throughout the pregnancy, late-month nutrition is improved for a food-insecure neighborhood and there is every reason to believe (but no way to prove) that mothers-to-be experience less food-related stress (which is known to harm a pregnancy).
Individuals rarely admit how bad their hunger was before our food but sometimes they exhibit hope by their actions.

Please help in any way you can. I’ve got to stop now and distribute sacks. One location is where a volunteer stays (he was stabbed in June but not in broad daylight) so I assure my wife I will be safe there. Well, actually, I haven’t told her this time. Tony 513-910-4162.

I love the idea that this program is not intended to develop competitive skills. This seems like a great way to address the needs of the whole child (academic, social-emotional, as well as physical/heath) but here's what I’m worried about - child hunger. When you look at the long-term results, is it possible that success is greater with children who are food secure? You can have low-income kids who are food secure because someone (often Grandma) can invite you to supper and slip Mom a $20 bill late in the month. But food insecurity is a reality for many kids. Childhood Food Solutions (http://www.kidsfed.org) also presented an idea and we would be delighted to share how we provide food security to entire neighborhoods. Our ROI is in improved birth outcomes (because mothers-to-be are supported nutritionally) but we also see a 64% improvement in students achieving reading proficiency. We want to partner with organizations like KiDsGyM USA to be sure students are supported nutritionally as they take advantage of the KiDsGyM USA program.

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Tony commented on Setting Kids Up to Soar in School and Life

Yes, elementary students can SOAR but here's what I’m worried about - child hunger. When you look at the long-term results, is it possible that success is greater with children who are food secure. You can have low-income kids who are food secure because someone (often Grandma) can invite you to supper and slip Mom a $20 bill late in the month. But food insecurity is a reality for many kids. Childhood Food Solutions (http://www.kidsfed.org) also presented an idea and we would be delighted to share how we provide food support to elementary school children. Our program brings food security to entire neighborhoods. Our ROI is in improved birth outcomes (because mothers-to-be are supported nutritionally) but we also see a 64% improvement in students achieving reading proficiency. We want to partner with organizations like WINGS to be sure students are supported nutritionally as they are given the social and emotional skills that enable them to SOAR.