Throughout Northeast Ohio, one in six people is food insecure – meaning they may not know where their next meal will come from. The Greater Cleveland Food Bank seeks to bridge the meal gap, connecting individuals with the nutritious meals they need to succeed.
The Greater Cleveland Food Bank is the largest hunger relief organization in Northeast Ohio having provided more than 57 million meals in 2018 to hungry people in Cuyahoga, Ashtabula, Geauga, Lake, Ashland and Richland counties.
We do this through both food distribution and SNAP outreach efforts. The Food Bank operates a community food distribution center, providing food and other critical grocery products annually to nearly 1,000 local food pantries, hot meal programs, shelters, mobile pantries, programs for the elderly and other nonprofit agencies.
We also prepare nutritious meals in our Food Bank Kitchen and take hundreds of calls a day in our help center, where we refer low income callers to local agencies and sign-up eligible Northeast Ohioans for the SNAP program and other benefits.
Last year, through our SNAP outreach efforts, we provided application assistance resulting in 19.3 million meals for eligible people in Northeast Ohio.
Here at the Greater Cleveland Food Bank, we fully embrace our core values every day – they include Fostering Engagement: collaborating with our community; Excellence: being good stewards of our community and its resources; Empowerment: educating, encouraging and supporting all those touched by hunger to contribute at their fullest potential; and Dedication to Service: ensuring that we keep the people we serve in our community at the center of everything we do.
These values are an integral part of our new three year strategic plan. In this plan, we are committed to fighting hunger today and into the future. We will reach even more individuals, families and seniors in need of our help while also beginning to measure our work in new ways to improve client service, access to food resources and outcomes.
TODAY: We will continue to provide tens of millions of nutritious meals annually to over 300,000 food insecure clients in Northeast Ohio in partnership with more than 900 programmatic partners in six counties.
TOMORROW: We will connect our clients to benefits and our community’s leading nonprofits to help them become more food secure in the future and shorten the line at local food pantries. No one in our community should have to worry where their next meal is coming from.
In this plan, we are also taking on a new and exciting challenge – we will begin to measure outcomes beyond the traditional food bank methods of counting meals and pounds and determine how we can be most effective in serving clients who are eligible. In addition to our everyday focus and commitment to our mission, we will begin to measure the “how and why” of what we are doing to improve the lives of the people and communities we serve. We will collaborate with our community partners to better serve our mutual clients and focus on how our work transforms the lives of the people we serve.
We will continue to build on our successes, communicate progress and learn and improve along the way.
Our core mission and values are reflected in the four goals of our new strategic plan which will carry us through 2021.
Address hunger today by providing nutritious food and targeted programming to reach more people who experience food insecurity.
Address hunger tomorrow by connecting people to supportive services to help them become more food secure.
Improve access and outcomes for people we serve by better tracking success.
Assess and create financial and organizational capacity to meet mission related goals.
- A group of civic-minded individuals joined together to create the Cleveland Foodbank, an innovative initiative to confront the critical issue of hunger in our community.
- Founders included members of the food industry, anti-food waste advocates, and individuals concerned with fighting hunger.
- The Cleveland Foodbank was incorporated to serve as a resource for both food industry donors and local charities feeding the hungry. The Foodbank served as a single clearinghouse that could solicit, collect, sort, and distribute food in a more efficient manner.
- In its first year, the organization distributed more than 400,000 pounds of food to 100 local partner agencies.
- The Foodbank merged with Food Rescue of Northeast Ohio, a longtime ally and nonprofit food distributor.
- Food Rescue of Northeast Ohio has primarily focus on providing fresh, frozen, and prepared food while the Foodbank had focused on nonperishable food. With the merger, the Foodbank is now able to provide local hunger centers with access to a wider variety of nutritious food for their clients.
- The Cleveland Foodbank merged with the Greater Cleveland Committee on Hunger, the organization that ran the Harvest for Hunger food and funds drive.
- The 21-county Harvest for Hunger campaign is now coordinated from under the Foodbank roof.
- The Cleveland Foodbank moved to a new 128,000 square foot facility, complete with a kitchen, warehouse space, cooling facilities, and repack area.
- The tnew facility also included space to house our entire staff, including our program agency and benefit outreach teams. Programs operating out of five different fa cilities were moved under one roof!
- The Children's Nutrition Initiative launches at the Foodbank, which includes programs like the Kid's Cafe and Backpacks for Kids.
- Named "Foodbank of the Year" by America's Second Harvest, now known as Feeding America.
- The Mobile Pantry Program is established, bringing healthy, perishable food directly to underserved communities in Northeast Ohio.
- The Summer Food Service program begins at the Foodbank. More than 128,000 meals were served at 32 locations to school age children in low-income areas, when school was out and children needed nutritious food most.
Our Help Center opened its doors to assist clients over the phone with filling out SNAP applications and additional benefits, as well as refer them to emergency food in their neighborhood.
- The Cleveland Foodbank, which had grown since 1979 to serve more than 700 agencies in six Northeast Ohio counties, changed its name to reflect the expanse of its service area.
- The Greater Cleveland Food Bank, as the organization is now known, continues to operate in Ashland, Ashtabula, Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, and Richland Counties.
- The Cargill Cold Storage Center opens to more than double our cold storage capacity to 22,000 square feet to store fresh fruits, vegetables, and other perishable foods.
The Food Bank launches its first Senior Markets, which provide nutritious meals to help seniors live healthier and more nourished lives in their own homes. Meals, prepared in our kitchen, are delivered to community centers or picked up by partners for delivery to homebound seniors on a daily basis.
- The Greater Cleveland Food Bank continues to provide nutritious food to our service area every day. The Food Bank has grown to serve more than 940 partner agencies.
- Through various efforts, the Food Bank made possible more than 55 million nutritious meals to hungry individuals.