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Cleveland family of 5 says food bank saved them from tragedy after job loss, cancer, pandemic

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Posted at 5:20 PM, Nov 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-30 19:01:04-05

CLEVELAND — Without the Greater Cleveland Food Bank, this Thanksgiving, and the entire past year, would have been a tragic one for Cynthia Sanders, Leroy Maloy and their three kids. They’re just one of hundreds of families that are able to fill their stomachs with fresh food from the food bank.

Between the pandemic, a cancer diagnosis, and job losses, the last few years have been difficult for Cynthia and Leroy’s family to stomach.

“If it wasn’t for the Cleveland food bank, then this whole year basically would have been tragedy,” said Sanders, who is the mother of kids aged 8, 11, and 13.

She said fresh food from the food bank is what keeps their family going with a stocked pantry and a full fridge.

Even their Thanksgiving was saved thanks to an outreach coordinator who came through with a turkey and all the fixings.

“It’s everything to me and my children,” Maloy said. “Our kids are healthy, they’re even getting fat, so to speak, because of the food bank, and it’s such a blessing to have them in our time of need.”

Maloy, who worked as a chef at Cleveland State University for eight years before losing his job during the pandemic, said he’s able to take what the food bank gives them and whip up healthy meals for the family, with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, canned goods and plenty of poultry.

“I’m a chef – I get in there and tear it up,” Maloy said.

While News 5 has often shown where the food comes from and how it is packaged and distributed weekly by the incredible volunteers at the food bank, Cynthia and Leroy’s family are an important example of where this food ends up – the shelves it takes, the stomachs it fills and the gratitude that comes from it all.

“I’m so proud of Cleveland — I’m so proud to be a part of Cleveland because we’re strong,” Maloy said. “Cleveland strong, Cleveland proud, that’s me, Leroy — Cynthia…she’s a Clevelander now.”

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