YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The Second Harvest Food Bank of the Mahoning Valley distributed a record 11.5 million pounds of food, including 3.4 million pounds of produce last year to those in need in Columbiana, Mahoning and Trumbull counties.
“We thank the many financial and food donors, individuals, volunteers, foundations, corporations, schools and organizations that were instrumental in helping us distribute more than 45,000 pounds of food each day from our warehouse,” said Mike Iberis, Second Harvest’s executive director. “Community support is imperative to our work and we are extremely grateful and humbled by the outpouring of support we receive.”
In addition to providing food through member agencies like food pantries, homeless shelters, soup kitchens and shelters for domestic violence, Second Harvest also operates three mobile pantry programs and 41 school pantry programs in 20 school districts.
School pantry programs allow children to take food home each day as needed. Several school districts also send extra food home on the weekends to at-risk students.
“While we are pleased to achieve a milestone in distribution, we will continue to work to bring in additional resources to meet the needs of seniors, families and children who are hungry in our community,” Iberis said.
Becky Page, Second Harvest’s director of development, said the Valley is seeing an increased need for food.
“What we are hearing from our agencies is a lot of the people coming to the food pantries are working at least full-time jobs. If they are not working full-time, they are working several part-time jobs to try to make ends meet. So what we are hearing is a lot of under-employment,” she said. “Senior citizens living on a fixed income is another challenge we face often because of prescription medication costs and they are trying to budget their very limited income for food, medicine, housing.”
Second Harvest’s mission is to solicit, store and distribute food to hunger-relief organizations in Columbiana, Mahoning and Trumbull counties and to provide education and advocacy.