Local program continues to cultivate the passion for kids helping kids

(New Philadelphia, Ohio) – The TUFF (Tuscarawas United-Feeding our Future) Bags program continues to serve local school children by partnering at-risk youth from the juvenile court with community volunteers to pack bags of food.

“With the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s been more important than ever that we continue to reach the kids in our community,” noted Adam Wilgus, Judge-Elect for the Tuscarawas County Court of Common Pleas Probate/Juvenile Division. “While this year has certainly presented challenges, the program has been able to consistently provide weekend meals for our local school children. We are grateful for the volunteers and donors who continue to support TUFF Bags and make the program possible.”

“This has been a very challenging school year, and thousands of our local children who were already dealing with the effects of food insecurity, are now fighting that battle along with all of the extra problems that have been caused by the pandemic. It’s vital that we do everything we can to help these kids and give them one less thing to worry about. This is one problem we can help alleviate for them,” explained Lisa Walker, TUFF Bags Coordinator. “I would really like to acknowledge our partner schools. They have worked tirelessly and creatively to help get food to their students during the pandemic. The collaboration and efforts from the schools have been inspiring. Our program would not be successful without the hard work of the staff and volunteers within the schools. We have some truly amazing individuals working day in and day out on behalf of the kids in our county.”

TUFF Bags is a partnership with Tuscarawas County Juvenile Court, United Way of Tuscarawas County, Akron-Canton Regional Food Bank, Greater Dover New Philadelphia Food Pantry, Tuscarawas County Sheriff’s Office, Tuscarawas County Health Department, and Adventure Harley Davidson. The program is working to eradicate childhood hunger, as well as provide education, skill-building, and community service for at-risk youth in the juvenile justice system. Approximately 4,280 children in Tuscarawas County experience food insecurity, which refers to a lack of regular access to nutritional food. The food these children receive through TUFF Bags not only nourishes their bodies but helps them reach their full academic and social potential by allowing them to leave school on Friday without the worry of going hungry until returning to school on Monday.

Volunteers for packing days are always needed. Please visit volunteersignup.org/YLDQP to view the packing schedule and select days and times for volunteering. COVID-19 Safety Protocols are followed.

Tax-deductible monetary donations to support the program can be made to United Way of Tuscarawas County, Attn: TUFF Bags at 1458 5th St NW New Philadelphia, OH 44663.

For more information, please call Lisa Walker at the Tuscarawas County Courthouse at 330-401-3283 or visit our website at www.co.tuscarawas.oh.us/Courts/tuff-bags/

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