News:The past few weeks have tested Second Harvest – and all of us - in ways we didn’t know possible. Our unwavering commitment is to our community and to bring every resources to bear to meet this new challenge. This week, we welcome the arrival of another group of National Guard men and women bringing our total to twenty-eight. The added capacity allows us to continue packing up to 3,000 food pantry boxes a week and still host mobile pantry distributions in areas of high need or underserved. Thank you as always to Task Force Workhorse! #TFWorkhorse.
Need: Our new reality is the doubling of the number of families receiving food assistance throughout our region in a matter of weeks. With schools out until at least May 1st, this high level of need will extend through all of April and well into May.
Operations: With National Guard help we are moving food out as quickly as possible to our programs through our warehouse and trucks. Semi-trucks are inbound with food for distribution and continue to add to that number each day. Our drivers continue to drop food at programs each day using a no-touch model by dropping pallets of wrapped food at delivery locations. In the past few weeks, with the help of our National Guard, we have packed almost 5,000 food pantry boxes for distribution and we expect to pack 2,500-3,000 each week to meet the need.
Mobile Pantries: Today we hosted our first Mobile Pantry at North Ridgeville Academic Center serving over 400 families (almost 1500 individuals). On Wednesday (4/1) we will be at Ely Stadium from Noon until 3PM serving 700 families, and on Thursday (4/2) at Southview Middle School in Lorain from 3PM until 5PM. More distributions are being scheduled each week. Follow the link to the Upcoming Mobile Pantry Schedule. Food pantry boxes have been or will be dropped for distribution through the City of Lorain, City of Elyria, Amherst City Schools, Firelands Local Schools, Norwalk City Schools and South Central Local Schools (Greenwich). Our partners at OHgo are also hosting a mobile distribution at Strobel Field in Sandusky on Thursday from 4PM-6PM.
Food Pantries & Hot Meals:At present, 63 of our partner food pantries remain open in the region. Less than half of hot meal programs remain open. A list of programs still serving can be found in our Find Help Directory.
Funding/Costs: Through the CARES Act, food banks will be receiving additional food through the USDA & The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP). The challenge will be continuing to meet the need until the food arrives, which could take up to 3 months or longer. Our only answer to maintain food distribution remains seeking truckloads of food donations and purchasing food. We estimate over the 12-week period, our total increase in costs could exceed $1M.
Donations: The biggest need now is monetary donations to help us purchase additional semi-trucks of food items for distribution and the shipping costs. We remain humbled by the organizations, groups, companies and individuals stepping up to Donate.
Thanks: To our friends at the Aladdin’s Eatery, Community Foundation of Lorain County, Landing Point Financial, Nord Family Foundation, SpaceBound and the Brown family for providing lunch last week. To Zelek Flower Shop for brightening our Friday with bouquets of flowers. To the Lorain, North Ridgeville and Elyria Police Departments and the State Highway Patrol for assisting with traffic.
Your kind thoughts are so appreciated by our team – keep sending them! If you have any immediate needs or questions please reach out to Kimberly Hazelgrove at (440) 444-0717 or by email.
Julie Chase-Morefield is the President and CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank of North Central Ohio.
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