Eight-year-old Christian Hunt's father works three jobs to support his family -- as a firefighter, an instructor for firefighters-in-training and as a security guard -- while his mother cares for his ailing baby sister.

Eight-year-old Christian Hunt's father works three jobs to support his family -- as a firefighter, an instructor for firefighters-in-training and as a security guard -- while his mother cares for his ailing baby sister.

Christian, and his two brothers, told Gov. John Kasich about his family during the Westerville Area Kids Lunch Club at Ridgewood Park in Blendon Township Friday, June 22.

Kasich toured the Westerville Area Resource Ministry, which provides the Kids Lunch Club, and visited Ridgewood Park to hear more about the program and to see the program's new initiative.

With funding from the state, the Westerville Area Kids Lunch Club will provide backpacks full of food for the weekends to children like Christian who attend the lunch club on Fridays.

The program is part of an initiative through the governor's Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, the Ohio Department of Education and Ohio's foodbanks.

With the $1 million in funding, summer food programs like the Westerville Area Kids Lunch Club will provide weekend meals to about 10,000 children across the state. In Westerville, the Kids Lunch Club will hand out up to 300 backpacks of food each Friday, said program coordinator Deb Wallace.

The foodbank delivers food to WARM, where volunteers fill bags for the lunch club participants to take home on Fridays. The children receive two breakfasts, two lunches, two dinners and two milks, Wallace said.

All of the items are healthy and shelf stable, and they are in kid-friendly packaging so the kids can feed themselves, Wallace said.

Wallace said the program goes a long way toward helping families like Christian's, and she said his mother was thrilled when she found out about the weekend backpack program.

"She and her husband were wondering what they were going to do on the weekend for lunches because they come to Ridgewood for lunches during the week, and then they were going to have four kids to feed over the weekend," Wallace said. "They were worried about having to feed them peanut butter and jelly all weekend."

Wallace said the weekend backpack program's value isn't in question in Westerville, but it is uncertain whether the program will continue next summer because there is no permanent funding in place for it.

"Funding is the critical bottleneck, and the governor has removed that bottleneck," Wallace said.

She said the Association of Second Harvest Foodbanks is looking at the efficacy of the program this year and then will lobby for funding for the program for next year.

Kasich praised WARM and the work it is doing with the Westerville Area Kids Lunch Club.

"You're making a difference to people, to kids," Kasich said. "We're talking about people who are struggling, who are poor, and we've given them a place to go."

The Westerville Area Kids Lunch Club stands out, Kasich said, because it not only feeds the children but provides programs and activities that make lunch a fun outing, rather than just a free meal.

"What a fantastic way to get kids fed without making them feel badly about it," Kasich said.

Christian also had rave reviews for the Lunch Club and weekend backpack program.

"It's awesome," he said.