CLEVELAND — The Greater Cleveland Food Bank is hosting its weekly food distribution in the city’s municipal lot.
As food insecurities continue following the holidays, organizers are preparing for the demand to grow even more.
With the extended Child Tax Credit ending and a lack of volunteers, the food bank is asking for additional help in serving families in Northeast Ohio.
Roughly 2,000 cars are expected to attend the food distribution— which is about average in recent weeks.
“As long as the need is still there, we are going to continue to make sure that we're down there at the meeting lot serving people in need,” said Karen Pozna of the Greater Cleveland Food Bank. “I think it's just so important to be flexible, to plan and to know that those things happen and we're going to adjust as quickly as possible.”
The extended Child Tax Credit, which has put hundreds of dollars a month into the pockets of 90 % of Ohio families ended in December. The food bank is concerned about what will happen to those families when they don’t receive a benefit check this month.
“It did help so many families make ends meet. It helped them with not only food, but utilities and rent and, you know, purchasing things like diapers and that,” Pozna said. “I think there's definitely concern out there as to what may happen to some of these families.”
In turn, the food bank is doing what it can to ensure Cleveland families have the help they need in the coming weeks. However, the cold weather and the spread of the COVID-19. The Omicron variant is also affecting their volunteers.
“We definitely have had some challenges, I think, with, you know, food supply as everybody has,” Pozna said. “We just try and adjust as quickly as possible and plan appropriately.”
Last year, the food bank had the help of the Ohio National Guard, but that assistance ended in the fall. Those guard members are now helping hospitals.
“With the National Guard gone from helping food banks, we are relying solely on our volunteers, and we need at least 70 volunteers to get through these distributions,” Pozna said.
If you can’t volunteer, the best donation you can give is money. Just $1 can help provide up to four nutritious meals.
“The monetary donations are the best because that will help us plan and try and order what we need,” Pozna said. “During these winter months, we can never have too many (volunteers) because and that just gives us more opportunity to give folks breaks and warm up.”
The food bank will be handing out produce today in the Muni Lot from 1 p.m. - 4 p.m.
You are required to register ahead of time either online or by phone, so they have an idea of how many boxes to prepare.
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