portsmouth-dailytimes.com

CAO summer programs prove to be successful

By Wayne Allen

August 31, 2013

Wayne Allen


PDT Staff Writer


The Community Action Organization (CAO) of Scioto County is wrapping up a Summer Feeding Program and the TANF Summer Youth Work Experience program.


The Summer Feeding Program was able to provide service in Scioto and Lawrence Counties through a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture and the Ohio Department of Education.


“The (Summer Feeding) program began on June 3 and operated through Aug. 2 in Scioto County and from June 10 through Aug. 9 in Lawrence County, with both operating for 44 days,” Luanne Valentine, program spokeswoman said. “There were 32 feeding sites 27 in Scioto County and five in Lawrence County, with 17 paid staff, including cooks in Lawrence and Scioto Counties.”


She said the program was able to provide breakfast, lunch and a backpack meal to 66,747 participants over the nine weeks of the program. The amount of meals increased 10,449 in 2013 when compared to 2012 figures.


In 2013 there were 14,976 breakfasts served between the two counties, representing an increase of 1,163 when compared to the 13,813 breakfasts were served in 2012.


In 2013 there were 35,545 lunches served between the two counties, representing an increase of 3,707 when compared to the 31,838 lunches that were served in 2012.


In 2013 there were 16,226 backpack meals prepared, representing an increase of 5,579 when compared to the 10,674 that were prepared in 2012.


“(The) backpacks were take-home meals for days that the feeding sites were not open. The proceeds from the Shamrock Shuffle 5K that was held in March of this year paid for the increase in the number of backpacks we were able to provide,” Valentine said. “Over the course of the summer, we had five feeding sites where staff from the SOMC Life Center provided an exercise activity directly after lunch and we had three sites where the OSU extension office provided nutritional educational services during the lunch-time meal.”


Valentine said, when you break down the numbers from the Summer Feeding Program, there were 800 youth in Scioto and Lawrence Counties served.


She said CAO was able to provide the TANF Summer Youth Work Experience Program through a contract with the Scioto County Department of Job and Family services.


“The purpose of the program was to provide work experience activities to area youth between the ages of 14 and 24. Although the final financial report will not be available until mid-September, this grant provided approximately $460,000, the majority of which was for wages and fringe of the participants,” Valentine said.


She said the program had 36 work sites, “Eleven of which were private, for-profit. Over the course of the summer, 115 (14-17 year olds) and 78 (18-24 year olds) had the opportunity to gain valuable work experience and earn a paycheck at one of the various sites. We had six youth who left the program early to accept other permanent positions and three who were subsequently hired by their respective work sites.”


When asked to reflect on the success of the summer programs, Valentine said, “Overall, we had a very busy, very successful summer.”


For more information about the Scioto County Community Action visit, www.caosciotocounty.org.


Wayne Allen may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 228, or tallen@civitasmedia.com. For breaking news, follow Wayne on Twitter @WayneallenPDT.