Coronavirus Emergency Relief Update 7/24/2020

Coronavirus Emergency Relief Update 7/24/2020

Growing Hope has been part of our mission statement for several years and it remains the words we hold onto as our team at Second Harvest is challenged with an ever-changing situation. By this time, we remained hopeful we would be on our way to a recovering economy in Ohio with families returning to work and gearing up for a new school year. But the need within our region for food remains high and our world is far from normal. Over the past 12 months we served over 125,000 different people through food pantries in the region - almost 28% of the population.

Over these past months as we responded to the COVID-19 crisis, Second Harvest demonstrated we are an organization of action as we met the needs of families in our community but we didn’t go it alone. We had the support of people like you throughout our region, our network of partner charities and the Ohio National Guard.


The National Guard’s arrival in mid-March allowed us to immediately respond to the demand for food assistance that has sustained through today and stabilized our communities. During the COVID-19 response period (March 16 – July 15), Second Harvest and the National Guard:

  • Doubled food distribution - an increase of 2.74M LBS of food - total distributed 5.53M LBS.
  • 41.5% increase in new families seeking help for the first time.
  • Executed 70 Drive-Thru Mobile Pantries at schools, parks, fairgrounds throughout the region to deliver 2.27M LBS of food directly to the hands of 52,744 households.

The National Guard soldiers are slated to end their mission on August 7 and we’re gravely concerned about meeting the high need for food assistance within our region relying only on volunteer support and worried we will experience a dramatic decline in capabilities.

Lack of Volunteers:

Corporate volunteers are indicating they will not return quickly, some not until early 2021. Only half of individual volunteers are considering returning because many are over the age of 60 and/or have health concerns. Rising COVID-19 numbers continue to make volunteers nervous, with good reason. Lack of childcare and closure of schools further hinder the ability of younger adults to assist at the increased levels required without full-time National Guard support.

Anticipating a decrease in Drive-Thru Mobile Pantries by 2/3rd:

Meeting the need within our region hinges directly on our ability to serve families through Drive-Thru Mobile Pantries with 83% of the increase in Second Harvest’s food distribution happening at those distribution. The no-touch model requires lifting heavy boxes up to 40LBS in rain, sun, snow and heat. We need 25-30 volunteers to execute and additional transportation and equipment to move this much food (NG provides 3 trucks and a forklift). Without guard support we would only be able to serve a third of the families we currently serve and likely would no longer be able to support rural distributions.

High Unemployment:

June 2020 unemployment figures placed our region’s rates at the highest in the state. Three of our counties remain in the top 11 counties in the state for unemployment: Lorain County #2 – 13.7%, Erie County #9 – 12.6%; Crawford #11 – 12.3% and Huron County – 10.7%. Supporting our economy with food assistance provides a lifeline to those who live in our communities and have limited options to provide for more.

Finding Help:

Drive-Thru Mobile Pantries continue in July with shelf-stable, fresh produce, dairy & frozen foods on:

  • Monday, July 27 | Lorain St. Mary’s, Lorain | 4:00 - 5:30PM
  • Tuesday, July 28 | Willard City Park & Recreation, Willard | 3:00 – 5:00PM
  • Wednesday, July 28 | Black River Landing, Lorain | 3:00 - 5:00PM
  • Thursday, July 20 | Amherst Junior High School | 4:00 - 6:00PM
  • Thursday, July 30 | Strobel Field with OHgo, Sandusky | 4:00 - 6:00PM

For upcoming Mobile Pantry dates visit our Facebook page for all the event listings. Our partner food pantries and hot meals programs continue to serve and are ready to help, find food assistance in your neighborhood using the Find Help Directory.

We’re Hiring:

Would you like to join our team? For more information on positions we are looking to fill, check out our Employment Page.

Thank You:

A heartfelt thank you to our friends at Ford’s Ohio Assembly Plan for selecting Second Harvest as the recipient of a $25,000 grant to assist with our efforts. Both a thank you and a congratulations to our friends at the Lorain Meijer store on their grand opening opening in July and for their $25,000 donation. Donations come in all sizes and we are grateful for every one of them.



Please reach out to myself or Kimberly Hazelgrove at (440) 960-2265, x-313 / email with questions.

Be well,

Julie Chase-Morefield

President & CEO