Mission: Team Vittles is a group of like-minded individuals in the Ohio library world committed to eradicating hunger through advocacy, outreach and social networking. Our goal is to reduce hunger in Ohio by making connections more easily available between funding, food and hungry individuals, especially children.

Vision: Find data. Make it useful. Fill bellies.

Team Vittles was formed in early 2017 by Gregg Gassman, Shane Hoffman, Gina Maida, Kate McCartney, and Sarah Schaff. While originally formed as part of an ILEAD USA team thanks to the generosity of the State Library of Ohio, Kent State, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, we are continuing on in our mission beyond the end of our grant and mentorship period.

As part of our ILEAD experience, our team is developing a website with which we will provide guidance on becoming part of the Summer Food Service Program as well as other programs that help to defray the cost of serving meals to underprivileged children. Additionally, we will be providing programming ideas to help keep children interested and attending, advocacy tips for people seeking partners to start sites, outreach ideas to promote your site as well as connections with people who have already started sites.

Part of our expanded mission is to create county level teams dedicated to taking a strategic approach to tackling hunger. No one knows the resources of a community better than those in the community. Our county level teams will discover possible locations for summer meals, advocate to start programs and time them to provide the maximum number of meals per day, and help groups get started serving meals. Team Vittles will provide guidance through the application process, help make connections for programming at sites and assist with the proverbial “other duties as assigned” to help assure that the process goes smoothly.

Together we will also work to provide maximum exposure to the community so that families know where their children can go for a nutritious meal in the summer. Additionally, we will work to create partnerships in the community to provide educational and physical programming to help prevent the “summer slide”. Other partnerships will include local groups, food pantries and thrift stores to make sure kids have basic needs for clothing and even toys met in a supportive environment.

It is no secret that childhood hunger increases the odds of health problems later in life, most notably obesity and diabetes. Children who are hungry often do less well in school and are more likely to exhibit disruptive behavior and suffer drug and alcohol addiction.

We hope that our collaborations with these communities can help increase the odds of success for as many children as is possible. We cannot do it alone, however. By working with the people who know their communities best, we can make the maximum positive effect on children’s lives.

Thank you,

Team Vittles

Gregg, Shane, Gina, Kate and Sarah