The Greater Cleveland Food Bank

After the over-abundance of fatty, rich foods piled on during 2015’s Fat Tuesday festivities (not to mention the frigid temperature looming outside), the thought of this gluttonous routine in preparation for weeks of voluntary fasting by many makes me consider the number of people in the greater Cleveland area who don’t have this luxury to choose when/what/where their next meal will come from.

In fact, according to the Greater Cleveland Food Bank, one in six people in Northeast Ohio do not know where their next meal will come from. Just under half (44 percent) of those who receive their food from GCFB agencies are seniors and children, not including the children served daily through the Children’s Nutrition Programs. In a region of the country where the winters are harsh, 54 percent of households reported having to choose between paying for housing and paying for food. The Food Bank provides opportunities for families and households under these situations.

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As a member of Feeding America and Ohio Association of Food Banks, in 2014, the Food Bank provided 45 million meals to people in Ashland, Ashtabula, Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake and Richland counties making it the largest hunger relief organization in the region. Food distribution and other outreach efforts make it possible to provide food and grocery items annually to these areas of Ohio.

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Programs provided to people in hunger in Northeast Ohio include:

Feeding Seniors

BackPacks for Kids

Kids Café

Summer Feeding

School Pantries

Food Bank Kitchen

Mobile Pantries

Community Gardens

Nutrition Education

Help Center

SNAP Outreach

These programs not only provide physical nutrition essentials to 45 million people annually, but nutrition education and outreach counselors working within each community assisting with a variety of needs.

A campaign, which began in 1992 by the Greater Cleveland Committee on Hunger, known as Harvest for Hunger, serves 21 counties and in 2013 raised $4.1 million coinciding with over 372,000 pounds of food. The press conference kickoff for the 2015 campaign is February 24, 2015 from 9:00am-10:30am at the Greater Cleveland Food Bank in Cleveland.

For anyone considering donating to a worthy cause aiding the Northeast Ohio community, this is one. For every one dollar donated, four meals are provided. The Food Bank provides many opportunities and ways to donate to help make sure Northeast Ohioans have a next meal.

To donate, volunteer, organize a drive, participate in events or simply spread awareness and education through social media, visit www.greaterclevelandfoodbank.org.

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