Like a lot of children in Cleveland, 8-year-old Alexandra Grant goes to the Cleveland Boys and Girls Club after school to have fun.
But, more importantly, she gets a nutritious meal supplied by the Greater Cleveland Food Bank while she's there.
“Here, you get a decent meal, like you get all your vitamins,” said Grant.
K’Shawn Williams, 13, also comes to the Cleveland Boys and Girls Club after school.
“We play basketball here, so it helps me regain my strength, and you really need food to survive,” said Williams.
Alarmingly, the food bank now says 25 percent of Cleveland children do not have access to three meals a day.
“The fact is one in four children in Northeast Ohio doesn’t always know where their next meal is coming from, and for kids, nutritious food is just vital to their growth, and development, and learning in their life,” said Kristin Warzocha CEO Food Bank.
To put the increasing need into perspective, the food bank also supplies students in need a backpack of food on Fridays to get them through the weekend.
“We also get food to take home, it’s like a snack and it’s like canned food. It never runs out, you just need something to eat sometimes. You can just heat up some beans,” Grant said.
Warzocha just wrote an open letter in local publications asking people to help the food bank, because she said, some people have the perception there’s plenty of help already.
“I think a lot of people assume, because the recession is over, and since the stock market has improved, that this issue of hunger has gone away, and it simply has not. We are still serving more people than we were before the recession.”
Warzocha is grateful for people giving time to volunteer, and money during the spirit of the holidays, but that help dwindles this time of year.
Now, the food bank is seeing more need from surrounding suburbs.
Children like Alexandra Grant are also thankful for the help.
If you would like more information on how to help volunteer, or donate to the Greater Cleveland Food Bank, visit their website.