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Throughout Northeast Ohio, one in six people is food
insecure – meaning they may not know where their next meal will come from. The Greater Cleveland
Food Bank seeks to bridge the meal gap, connecting individuals with the
nutritious meals they need to succeed.
The Greater Cleveland Food Bank is the largest hunger relief organization in Northeast Ohio having provided more than 40 million meals in 2013 to hungry people in Cuyahoga, Ashtabula, Geauga, Lake, Ashland and Richland counties. Our mission is to ensure that everyone in our communities has the nutritious food they need every day.
We do this through both food distribution and SNAP outreach efforts. The Food Bank operates a community food distribution center, providing food and other critical grocery products annually to more than 700 local food pantries, hot meal programs, shelters, mobile pantries, programs for the elderly and other nonprofit agencies.
We also prepare nutritious meals in our Greater Cleveland Food Bank Kitchen and take hundreds of calls a day in our help center, where we refer low income callers to local agencies and sign-up eligible Northeast Ohioans for the SNAP program and other benefits.
Last year, through our SNAP outreach efforts, we provided application assistance resulting in 9.3 million meals for eligible people in Northeast Ohio. This is 20 percent of the total meals we provided.
In 1979, a group of civic-minded individuals joined together to create the Greater Cleveland Food Bank, an innovative method for confronting the critical issue of hunger in our community. Some of these people represented the food industry and expressed concern about the large amount of nutritious food going to waste each day. Others stood on the front lines in the fight against hunger and worried about the limited supply of food available to feed the hungry.
Working together, these individuals resolved that a single clearinghouse could solicit, collect, sort, and distribute food in a more efficient manner, ensuring improved operations for local charities in the Greater Cleveland area. The Greater Cleveland Food Bank was incorporated to serve as a resource for both food industry donors and local charities feeding the hungry.
In the Food Bank.s first year of operation, the organization distributed 400,000 pounds of food to 100 local hunger relief organizations. In the past year, the Greater Cleveland Food Bank distributed 33.4 million meals (35.4 million pounds of food) and other essential products to 685 member hunger programs.
In March of 2001, after years of collaboration, the Greater Cleveland Food Bank merged with Food Rescue of Northeast Ohio, another local nonprofit food distributor. Since its founding, the Food Bank had primarily focused on the distribution of nonperishable food, while Food Rescue of Northeast Ohio had focused on providing fresh, frozen and prepared food. The Food Bank is now able to provide local hunger centers with access to a wider variety of nutritious food for their clients.
In July of 2003, the Greater Cleveland Food Bank merged with the Greater Cleveland Committee on Hunger, the organization that ran the Harvest for Hunger food and funds drive. The Harvest for Hunger Campaign is now under the Food Bank roof and the efficiencies from the merger are being seen. The Campaign runs every spring and collects food and money to benefit our member agencies.
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