Northeast Ohioans are breaking records with their generosity this Christmas season, helping the Greater Cleveland Food Bank distribute 266,000 pounds of food on Thursday.
This week’s food collection and distribution shattered the previous records of 200,000.
Greater Cleveland Food Bank CEO and President Kristin Warzocha said the weeks before Thanksgiving and Christmas are always see the most donations, but Thursday’s distribution was more than twice the average for this time of the year.
“The first reason is that the need for food is continuing to grow even though the economy is improved,” Warzocha told newsnet5.com.
She said many full-time working families still have trouble with food insecurity.
According to census data, 54 percent of Cleveland children are living in poverty. The high poverty rate is second only to Detroit for the nation's 50 largest cities.
“That is a real challenge that we need to wrap our arms around,” said Warzocha. “Low-income kids need healthy food to learn and grow so if we want Cleveland to be a better tomorrow, we have to do everything we can today.”
The Greater Cleveland Food Bank serves about 10,000 children per year through a network of special programs, like the ones at the Boys and Girls Club of Cleveland.
Broadway Club Director Myesha Crowe said the afternoon meal provided by the food bank is vital for kids who come to the club after school.
“For most of our kids this meal is the only meal that they’ll eat for the rest of the night,” Crowe said.
Crowe said the food bank served more than 175,000 meals to the Boys and Girls Club last year alone.
“Just knowing that we’re just one organization and if they’re providing this to organization all over Greater Cleveland, that’s amazing I’m very grateful,” she said.
The Greater Cleveland Food Bank is always in need of donations and volunteers. Information for donating online or volunteering in person can be found at their website.