· Yesterday Governor DeWine issued a proclamation for the National Guard to assist food banks. We were part of this request and have already received communications from the National Guard who may be here as early as Monday, March 23. News Story A request has also been made by the Ohio Association of Foodbanks to the state for an additional $25 Million to assist with additional food for the 12 food banks in the state.
· Per the Governor’s directive, beginning Thursday, March 19 we will take the temperature of all staff and volunteers prior to the start of their shift. Our facility is only open to staff and scheduled volunteers. Partner charities are able to pick up but with limited access to the facility.
· Our most sincere thanks to the Community Foundation of Lorain County for their grant of $250,000 toward our efforts. We are grateful for the generosity and faith in our work. Another word of thanks to our friends at the City of Lorain for fielding calls from seniors and delivering boxes in the City and our friends at the City of Elyria for sending volunteers.
Direct Distributions: Thursday we conducted a mobile pantry at El Centro. We served 388 families (1308 individuals), 210 were NEW to the system. Of those served 501 were children and 146 were seniors. Our next mobile pantry will be at Black River Landing on March 25. Links for your information: Upcoming Distributions and Find Help Directory. We are updating the find help directory with the programs we have confirmed are open – encourage people to use this directory. There will be more direct distributions scheduled but we are evaluating sites and food supply.
Operations: We are moving food out as quickly as possible to our programs through our warehouse and trucks. We are adding additional temporary staff in the warehouse and welcome the Guardsmen when they arrive. We are running through our supplies quickly, but our food resources team is working round the clock to bring in more food.
Partner Charities: At the beginning of the week most were remaining open, a handful have closed and we anticipate more in the coming week. Without question all want to stay open but many are located within churches and must close if the church closes. All of us have tremendous respect to all of our programs and the schools for their commitment to service – I only wish I could share all the stories because they are inspiring. Additional food grants on program accounts will be on by the end of the week.
Volunteers: We are still seeking volunteers NOT in the at-risk group. Thank you all for sharing our Volunteer Link. Please continue to push out the message we need volunteers. Our priority is on packing pantry boxes and Senior boxes in the coming weeks. Volunteers will be packing another 1500 pantry boxes this weekend and we anticipate we be doing this on a weekly basis.
Funding / Costs: We have committed almost $50,000 as of 3/18/20 to this effort for supplies and food. Another $140,000 is on purchase order for incoming food and we will be purchasing more. This does not include labor costs which we anticipate could be an additional $50,000 over the 12 weeks. The situation is ever changing and we will continue to gauge what this will look like in the coming weeks.
Donations: We are so grateful for all those organizations, groups, companies and individuals that are stepping up to donate. As you can see, we are running through our supplies very quickly and we must keep pace. We are committed to helping all who need us but we can only do it with your help.
Messaging: We have heard rumors going around we are closing. This couldn’t be further from truth – we are in this for the long haul – spread the word. #HeretoHelp
If you have immediate needs please reach out to Kimberly Hazelgrove at (440) 444-0717 or
Lastly, thank you for your words of support and encouragement it means so much to all of us.
Julie Chase-Morefield is the President and CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank of North Central Ohio.