Two programs are underway to address hunger among children in Green - and the numbers appear to be growing. One helps keep bellies full in the morning, and the other helps reduce hunger on the weekends.
Jennifer Doerrer heard about Blessings in a Backpack and how it was being used in other school districts in Summit County, so she decided to ask school administrators in Green if there was a need. Doerrer says she was shocked to find out that there was a need and it's a need that is getting stronger.
"There's no reason for this," said Doerrer. "There's just absolutely no reason that a child should be hungry at any point. We have the means to do away with this problem, epecially here in this community. As soon as I found that there was a need, I just said 'this problem will end in this community now.'"
Blessings in a Backpack provides food to any student, whether they are receiving free/reduced lunches or not, whose parents say it's okay for them to bring it home. It's intended to provide breakfast, lunch and snacks for a child for the entire weekend. She says most backpacks contain about seven items but Doerrer gets so many donations that the backpacks in Green usually have 9 - 10 items.
"Last year we had 150 children," said Doerrer. "This year, once all of the numbers are collected, we are expecting somewhere between 300 and 400 children."
Part of the increase is linked to a program expansion that includes high school students. Those students, who may be embarrassed that they don't have enough food, have the option of texting a request, then picking up the backpack of food inconspicuously.
The Blessings in a Backpack program, which has participating schools across the country, was one thing that prompted Food Services Manager Amie Payne to inquire about adding a school breakfast program when she came to Green about a year ago. It started this school year and it's a hit. Prior to that, Doerrer and her husband were paying for breakfast foods for children at Green Intermediate School when they found out that students were arriving hungry in the mornings, prompting teachers to bring food with them.
"I'm very pleased with the numbers that we have," said Payne.
It's not just for students who qualify for free or reduced lunches, although they do get a price break. Bulldog Breakfast Bags are available to any students.
"Even if the pantries are full at home, whether it's time or something they don't care for or some students don't like to get up and eat breakfast as soon as they get up," said Payne.
Making sure that students are operating on a full stomach serves another purpose as well, according to Julie McMahan, a district spokesperson.
"We're setting up not only the children to succeed academically in the classrooms but we're also enabling the teachers to do what they do best, teacher, without the worry or concern of children being hungry," said McMahan.
Blessings in a Backpack depends on donations. There are about 60 volunteers.
Ohio's BMX bike racers crowned champions over the weekend at the Akron BMX track near Derby Downs.
But before they become champions, racers have to practice and learn from the experts.
That's what happened before racing on Saturday, with pro racers from DK Bikes conducting a clinic.
Steve Fox with Akron BMX says BMX bike racing attracts both those who just want to have fun, and those who want to make a career out of it.
"My one daughter, she does it for fun...she could care less about going on and making a career of it," Fox says. "My oldest son...he's dead set. He trains for it, and he wants to go to the Olympics. That's his goal."
Among those hoping for Olympic glory is 15 year-old Adam Nelson.
"Two or three years ago, when I saw it on TV, I saw it...dang, that was really fast," Nelson says, "I just looked up to them and I wanted to be like them."
Fox says the sport is attracting a larger number of girls, who compete at the state level and win.
17 year old Jessica Johnson remembers her first bike wreck...quickly realizing it wasn't as easy as just riding a bike on the street.
"My first practice, I showed all my friends my cuts, and they're like 'oh, you wrecked on your bike," Jessica recalls. "I'm like 'yeah, I'm going 15 miles per hour and I face planted on the dirt. It's going to hurt."
Clint Fry is 32 years old. He's been BMX riding for 27 years, and now rides with his own kids.
"I stay in shape and I do it with my own boys," he says. "They're 10, seven and three (years old)."
Fox with Akron BMX says the young riders get a lot from the pros who conduct clinics...who "live to ride" like they do.
A candlelight vigil was held over the weekend in remembrance of Laura Zborowski, the bus driver who lost her life saving a 10-year old girl from getting run over during a safety drill.
Friends and family gathered outside Middlebury Academy in Akron on Saturday, the location of the accident, to pay their respects to the brave 51-year-old.
Zborowski was helping the girl off the bus during the drill when the bus began to move backwards. She tossed the girl out of the bus' path, but was not able to get herself out of the way in time.
Friends tell NewsChannel 5 that they aren't at all surprised by her heroic actions and that she was always very active in giving back to the community.
They say Zborowski was a single mother, and a recent cancer survivor.
Funeral arrangements have been made for Monday morning. The Laura Zborowski Heroic Memorial Fund has been set up to help her family, at area KeyBank locations.
On the Web: WEWS NewsChannel 5, www.newsnet5.com
A Barberton man is charged with murder, after a fight that broke out early Sunday at a gathering in Portage County that resulted in the death of another man.
The Portage County Sheriff's Office says 25 year-old Christopher Kiehl of Barberton and 26 year-old Kyle Fox got into a fight at the home in Edinburg Township at just before 1 AM. Fox was shot and killed.
Kiehl was taken into custody at the scene, and taken to the Portage County Jail, where he faces a murder charge. He's being held on no bond.
He'll be arraigned in Portage County Court on Monday afternoon at 1:15 PM.
High School football scores for 9-19-14
Copley 28 - Green 7
Garfield 28 - Firestone 14
Mogadore 34 - Springfield 6
Young. Mooney 35 - St. Vincent-St. Mary 10
Tallmadge 13 - Wadsworth 7
Stow 35 - Cuyahoga Falls 7
Ravenna 14 - Field 7
Coventry 35 - Kent Roosevelt 33
East 7 - Kenmore 0
Archbishop Hoban 38 - Barberton 12
Crestwood 49 - Norton 14
Hudson 41 - Brunswick 14
Jackson 35 - Lake 28
Mentor 54 - Twinsburg 7
Nordonia 44 - Highland 21
Revere 42 - Cloverleaf 14
Fairless 28 - Manchester 21
Columbus St. Francis de Sales 35 - Buchtel 27
CVCA 13 - Canton Timken 0
Canton McKinley 28 - North Canton Hoover 21
Chippewa 63 - Rittman 7
Streetsboro 55 - Rootstown 14
Waterloo 17 - Garrettsville 0
Woodridge 37 - Southeast 7
The number of OVI checkpoints are on the rise again in northeast Ohio thanks to federal dollars. Bill Holland of the Summit County Sheriff's office says an increase in grant funding for the checkpoints and other traffic crackdowns are allowing the department to conduct more of them this year, and drivers are taking notice. " We're doing the best we can to get these drivers off the road. It's doing something because a lot of people talk about it and wonder where the checkpoints are, so it's making people think twice about driving while impaired."
The Summit County Sheriff's Department just received more than $300,000 in federal grants for the OVI checkpoints, saturation patrols and educational programs to keep drunk drivers off the road.
While the Summit County OVI Task Force has stepped up its checkpoints the Ohio State HIghway Patrol is doing the same with no less than four scheduled for this weekend.
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon will be back on the field this season.
The league's new drug policy has been approved, and that means Gordon's suspension will be cut to 10 games. That returns him to the Browns for the Week 12 game against the Atlanta Falcons.
Gordon will be eligible to play the final six games of the season.
NFL.com reported the agreement Friday afternoon, saying it was released shortly before commissioner Roger Goddell's press conference.
The Northeast Ohio Media Group reports that Gordon is not expected to face suspension for any additional games for DWI charges linked to an arrest in North Carolina.
Gordon pleaded guilty to those charges this week.
A young Akron man has been charged in a shooting on Thursday.
Akron police say it happened on Cluster Avenue when a woman reported she was shot after an argument with someone she knew.
The 43 year-old woman reported she was shot in the leg by an acquaintance following an argument over money.
Akron police say the woman was transported to Akron City Hospital with injuries that don't appear to be life threatening.
18 year-old Timothy David Addie II of Cluster Avenue was booked into the Summit County Jail on charges including felonious assault.
Copley teachers voted no on a proposed contract renewal with the Copley-Fairlawn Board of Education, noting educators continue to work without a contract even after agreeing to a three year wage freeze.
(Ohio Education Association) By an overwhelming margin, Copley teachers voted Thursday to reject the Tentative Agreement reached between the Copley Teachers Association (CTA) and the Copley-Fairlawn Board of Education. Copley teachers saw their previous agreement expire on June 30 and have been operating under an expired contract since the school year began.
CTA Spokesperson, Jay Wise said, “we were very disappointed that the contract we were offered did not respect the sacrifice we made with a 3-year wage freeze while continuing to keep the district among the highest in excellence and achievement.”
CTA President Windy Lewis echoed that sentiment, “We have very committed and passionate teachers in this district and it was clear from the vote result that their true value to the community is not reflected in the Board’s offer.” Lewis, also a member of CTA’s Negotiation Team, remains hopeful, “We are looking forward to returning to the bargaining table to continue working for a fair contract.”
It has been over 30 years since Copley teachers last rejected a contract offer.
Earlier this week we told you the Akron Marathon team relay was sold out. Now add the half-marathon, leaving only 300 slots available for the full marathon. The 12th annual running of the Marathon is set for a week from Saturday.
- - -
(Akron Marathon) The Akron Marathon announced today that the half marathon, presented by Acme Fresh Market, has officially sold out after hitting capacity at 4,800 participants, which marks the largest field of half marathon participants in Akron Marathon history. Race organizers previously announced that the team relay sold out on Monday, Sept. 15. Currently, fewer than 300 spots remain in the full marathon.
Registration for that even closes Sunday, Sept. 21 at 11:59 p.m.
“The Akron Marathon is Akron’s largest single-day sporting event,” said Akron Marathon Executive Director Anne Bitong. “What began as a local race has grown into one of the premier running events in our region, attracting participants from all over the world."
The marathon is also looking for additional volunteers for both the Health & Fitness Expo Friday, Sept. 26 at the John S. Knight Center, as well as for the following day’s race. Opportunities include assisting with registration at the Expo, finish line runner support, helping with the kids fun run and serving as a recycling steward, among others. The Akron Marathon, which consists of four events including the full and half marathon, the five-person team relay and the kids fun run, has grown by more than 10,000 participants since the inaugural event in 2003. The Marathon offers the community a health-focused, fun-filled occasion that draws thousands of participants and spectators each year.
The 12th annual event will be held Sept. 27, 2014.