In 2012, several food pantries closed down in the city of Lorain. These closures prompted Second Harvest to conduct a gap analysis as part of an effort to find potential distribution sites in high-poverty areas lacking existing food pantries. We identified partners in targeted regions willing to work with us to plan and execute mobile food pantries—thus began the Second Harvest Mobile Pantry program. Our first partnership with El Centro de Servicios Sociales was solidified in March 2012 and is still going strong today. Throughout the years, Second Harvest has come and gone from sites throughout our service region, including the Lorain VFW #45 and the Lorain Public Library, Main Branch. During the years of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ohio National Guard assisted in scaling up our Mobile Pantry Program to meet the sudden increase in need, eventually helping in over 500 Mobile Pantry distributions.
Mobile Food Pantry boxes are packed by volunteers at Second Harvest and driven over on the day of distribution with available fresh produce, protein, bread, and more. Currently, Second Harvest and community partners stage monthly Mobile Pantry distributions at Oakwood Park (Lorain), Black River Landing (Lorain), Willard City Park, and BGSU Firelands (Huron); and seasonal Mobile Pantry distributions at the campus of Lorain County Community College (Elyria).
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