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A Balancing Act

Based on the article “A Balancing Act, remembering the hungry in our national conversation about food” from the Sept/Oct 2010 Our Ohio magazine.

Academic Content Standard
(Social Studies: Government: Grade 3): This student activity explores the local community showing that community members “have social and political responsibilities and that individuals make the community a better place by solving problems in a way that promotes the common good.”

(Note: Key terms used from the Ohio Academic Content Standards Revision, K-12 Social Studies, June 2010.)

Discussion points
o    Read the article titled “A Balancing Act” in Our Ohio magazine or online.
o    According to the article, what is the problem in the Reynoldsburg community?
o    Why does this problem exist?
o    Who is solving this problem?
o    What is the name of the program that “provides free meals to children in low-income areas,” in this article?
o    Where can some children go in the summer to receive a free breakfast and lunch in this community?
o    What organization makes sure that children get food in the summer, when school is not in session?
o    After reading this article, do you think that hunger is a problem in our Ohio communities? Explain.
o    According to the article, how many Ohio children received free lunches during the summer last year?
o    Define: Common Good as it relates to people in a community.
o    Do you think providing lunches serves the common good in our communities?
o    In your opinion, is the Mobile Feeding Unit used in Reynoldsburg a good idea?  Who pays for this van to travel around the area and feed children?
o    How many people in the world did not have enough food to eat last year?
o    What is the solution to not having enough food to eat?
o    Terry Fleck of the Center for Food Integrity offers ways that countries can increase production of food. Innovation is one way; name four other ways mentioned in the article.
o    Does the government have anything to do with making sure people are fed? Explain.
o    What can farmers do to help feed more people? Can the government support farmers more to achieve the goal of producing more food? How?
o    Define: Disposable Income
o    What responsibility do community members have to feed hungry children in their neighborhoods?
o    After reading this article, do you think people are taking action to help children who are hungry?

Hands on at Home or School
o    Visit the Ohio Department of Education’s Summer Food Service Program website.
o    Look at the map of Ohio locations
o    Can you do anything to help with children’s hunger in your community?
o    Is hunger an issue in your school?  Look at this website under School Meal Programs to find out.

Geography
o    Using a map of Ohio located at the Ohio Department of Transportation, or your own map.
o    Find the city of Reynoldsburg in Ohio (Hint: Look around Columbus)
o    In what county is Reynoldsburg located?

Economics
o    Draw a line graph to show that in 1940 one farmer grew enough food for 19 people and in 2010 one farmer grows enough food for 155 people.  Explain what happened for farmers to be able to make this change.
o    If money is a resource that is scarce in a family, what decisions must be made about how to use the money they have?
o    Can a food bank or food pantry provide a family with help if there is not enough money to buy food?
o    Visit the Mid-Ohio Food Bank : www.midohiofoodbank.org

Math
o    “About 40 percent of Reynoldsburg school students receive free or reduced meals.” Can you change 40 percent into a fraction?  Does this show that 2 out of every 5 students receive a free or reduced price lunch?
o    “20 percent of all Ohio households did not have enough money to buy food.”  Change 20 percent into a fraction.  How many households out of every 10 did not have enough money to buy food?

Student activities are prepared by Camille Kopczewski, who is coordinator of religious education at Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Grove City.  She is a former sixth grade social studies teacher for South-Western City Schools.  She has undergraduate and graduate degrees in education.

Lynn Snyder 

Lynn Snyder is senior director of communications for Ohio Farm Bureau.