The Greater Cleveland Food Bank is the largest hunger relief organization serving Northeast Ohio, feeding six counties, and over 350,000 people in 2019. The following words are by Jackie Hayes, Digital Media Coordinator at the Greater Cleveland Food Bank. Take it away Jackie.

 

At the Greater Cleveland Food Bank, our mission is to ensure that everyone in our communities has the nutritious food they need every day. Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, we have continued to be flexible, nimble and proactive in our actions. While we are not all in the same boat, we are all facing the same larger issue that is COVID-19.

We have heard of many heart-wrenching stories of parents who have never needed food assistance before but are now turning to us and our partner agencies for the first time since they no longer have the income to feed their children.

We now have served triple the number of new families than we served last year during this time period. Prior to COVID-19, we typically held our food distributions on the third Thursday of each month, but the need for food has increased dramatically which brought us to host weekly distributions instead of once a month. Since March 19, we have been hosting weekly, drive-thru food distributions where we have been providing fresh produce and shelf-stable products to anyone in need. We held the first two distributions at the Food Bank, but after the three-mile-long lines shut down our surrounding neighborhood for two weeks in a row, we decided to move these weekly distributions off-site to the City of Cleveland Muni Lot.

Since our staff are the people working these events, we didn’t know what the process looked like from a client prospective, and this is where GoPro came in. At our May 7 distribution, we mounted a GoPro on the roof of a car and drove through the distribution line ­to capture the well-oiled machine that has become our new normal.

Using our GoPro was the perfect way to tell the story in our community about the need for food! We were in awe of how far we have come since the beginning of this pandemic. We don’t know how long these weekly distributions will go on for, but we do know that there are many people who are in need of food and we’re here to help. Northeast Ohio has banned together to show unwavering support to one another, and we are so grateful to be a part of such a selfless community.

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