COLUMBUS: Gov. John Kasich has authorized spending up to $1.5 million more to help feed needy children during the summer when they arenít getting free lunches at school.

The Ohio Association of Foodbanks said the money will help continue last summerís weekend meals backpack program for children in need. The money comes from the stateís Temporary Assistance for Needy Families funds. Kasich signed the order Tuesday.

Some 45 percent of school-aged children in Ohio receive free or reduced-price meals during the school year. But when summer comes, participation in the seasonal companion program available to those same children draws only a fraction of eligible youngsters.

The food bank association said childhood hunger can lead to higher rates of diabetes and other conditions, and affect learning.