In April 2022, the Greater Cleveland Food Bank announced the availability of capacity grants to its partners to help increase current and future distribution efforts resulting from and following on from the pandemic. In total, over $1.5 million in requests were received from the GCFB partner agencies. Grants were available for a range of requests designed to enhance the ability to continue to provide essential emergency support to communities deemed to be food insecure.
We submitted a request for $15,000 for partial salary relief to support the two full-time delivery staff we hired in September 2020. Moving to 100% delivery was an enormous shift in our approach to service and one that allowed us to continue providing seamless emergency food delivery at the height of the pandemic and beyond. We have decided to continue making home deliveries to residents of Lakewood, Rocky River, and Westlake, our Hunger Network of Greater Cleveland service areas. Just over 96% of the clients we serve are Lakewood residents.
When we made this shift, we were not certain how long it would be before we reopened for walk-in service, which LCSC has done for close to 40 years. We have now come to realize that for seniors, individuals with physical disabilities and/or mental health issues, single moms with kids, and those who rely on public transportation, having food delivered has been critically important in these very uncertain times. At present, home delivery is the most effective way of ensuring all who need supplemental food continue to receive it as needed. We will continue to evaluate the introduction of a hybrid delivery system as we move through 2022, but for the foreseeable future, we will continue with home delivery.
We were informed on May 12 that LCSC had received a grant for the total requested amount. We are grateful to the Greater Cleveland Food Bank for making these funds available to its large network of agency partners and for selecting LCSC as a grant recipient.
A statement from GCFB:
The Greater Cleveland Food Bank knows that our network of partners has been responding to the pandemic and helping families make ends meet by providing nutritious food to those in need. Thanks to the generosity of our community, the Food Bank is thrilled that we can make this capacity grant available to our partners so that they can make necessary enhancements to their space and operations to serve more people.
In the GCFB service territory, 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 served more than 343,000 people in Cuyahoga, Ashtabula, Geauga, Lake, Ashland, and Richland counties in FY2021. This is accomplished through both food distribution and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) outreach efforts. The Food Bank operates a community food distribution center, providing food and other critical grocery products annually to more than 1,000 local food pantries, hot meal programs, shelters, mobile pantries, programs for the elderly, and other nonprofit agencies.
The GCFB prepares nutritious meals in its Food Bank Kitchen and takes hundreds of calls a day to the help center, where low-income callers are referred to local agencies. In 2021, the GCFB helped almost 40,000 eligible people apply for public benefits. They continue to connect clients to other non-profits to address the main drivers of food insecurity: housing, healthcare, and employment.