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Power pack-a-thon on Fountain Square

Volunteers planned to pack a thousand weekend lunch bags for children Monday afternoon at Fountain Square.  The "Power Packs" are sent home with children when they leave school on Friday.

Freestore Foodbank CEO Kurt Reiber says the bags of food are given to children who usually rely on school lunches, so they have enough to eat over the weekend.

Reiber says nearly 75 percent of the homes they serve have at least one parent working, and the children may be taking care of themselves on the weekends.  He says the Power Packs are designed so kids can feed themselves.  They're filled with microwavable pasta, cereal packets, fruit snacks, and juice drinks.

“Cincinnati ranks 2nd in childhood poverty out of 76 major metropolitan areas in the U.S.,” Reiber said.  “And the Power Pack program the FreestoreFoodbank puts on is really making a difference in their lives.”

The Freestore Foodbank distributes about 4,500 packs each week.  Volunteers usually pack the bags at the Freestore’s facility in Bond Hill, but for the holiday, they met at Fountain Square.

“We’re doing this in honor of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday obviously.  A day of service,” Reiber said. “The President asked us all to do something of service.”

Rinehart has been a radio reporter since 1994 with positions in markets like Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska; Sioux City, Iowa; Dayton, Ohio; and most recently as senior correspondent and anchor for Cincinnati’s WLW-AM.