Reynoldsburg News

Hannah Ashton Middle School

Market will offer free produce to needy families

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Hannah Ashton Middle School volunteers will soon be helping families in need through this year's fresh produce market.

The market, now in its second year, provides free produce and groceries for families in need on the third Saturday of every month, March through October, except for April when the date was changed because of Easter.

The first monthly market this year is scheduled from 9 to 11 a.m. March 15 on the front lawn of the middle school, 1482 Jackson St.

Teacher Cathy Ely said Reynoldsburg students will be helping more with the market this year.

"The changes this year include actively recruiting our own students to participate," she said. "The high school academies place an emphasis on service learning and we want to instill civic-mindedness at an early age."

She said families in need are defined by annual income.

A one-person household could have an annual income of $22,339 or less to qualify; a household of two people could make $30,259 or less; four people in a family would qualify at an annual income of $46,099 or less and five in a family would qualify at an annual income of $54,019 or less.

Ely said people will not be asked for proof of income or residency.

"Consumers are required to sign in with their signature and address as well as to provide stats on the number of household members and age ranges," she said. "Their signature certifies that they are eligible to receive food resources."

She said an adult must be present and those receiving the food should bring their own bags for the groceries.

All food will be supplied by the Mid-Ohio FoodBank.

During inclement weather, the market will be held in the Hannah Ashton gymnasium.

Ely said involving Hannah Ashton's service council students and high school students from (HS)2 Academy to help with the market is a good way for students to see they can "make a change in the world."

"Starting locally is a way for students to see the impact they can have on their community," she said. "Working side by side with adults and older students for a common cause is a powerful, real-world learning experience.

"Together, we are improving the accessibility to much-needed food resources," she said.

Ely said more volunteers are needed.

"We always welcome volunteers," she said. "We have a core group of teachers that routinely volunteer, but we encourage parents and members of the community to get involved."

Other confirmed dates and times for food distribution at the market are from 9 to 11 a.m. April 12, May 17 and June 21.

Last year, some of the pallets that the food was delivered on were recycled and used for raised beds in Hannah Ashton's green space, Principal Denise Lutz said.

She said teachers worked with the students last year to grow fresh herbs in that space to use in the school's cooking classes.

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