CANFIELD, Ohio (WKBN) – Hundreds of local families have extra food tonight thanks to the Second Harvest Food Bank.
They came in everything from small sub-compacts to big SUVs, some waiting hours to pull through the government building at the Canfield Fairgrounds to pick up food.
“Before the middle of March, our agencies were seeing around 11,000 people a week. We’re well over a 40% increase in the number of people in need of food assistance,” said Becky Page, with the Second Harvest Food Bank.
This is the fifth of these “traveling food pantries” organized by Second Harvest since the pandemic started.
The first traveling food pantry hosted at the fairgrounds was on April 17.
More than a dozen members of the National Guard’s 237th Brigade Support Battalion from Austintown were on hand to help load cars and direct traffic.
“Seeing people that you know normally wouldn’t have to come get food, they’re now coming to get food. Stuff like that. So it’s a very humbling experience,” said Staff Sgt. Nathan Nance.
Organizers admit they suffered through some supply chain issues trying to meet the increasing demand but are now receiving additional supplies from the state and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
“Once they got caught up with the grocery stores, meeting that demand, the trucks started to come in and we’re working at full capacity,” Page said.
It couldn’t have come at a better time for Second Harvest, which distributed a record 11.5 million pounds of food last year, months before the pandemic hit and the economy shut down.
“Right now, we’re sitting three million pounds ahead of where we were last year,” Page said.
With about 1,000 cars showing up on Friday, more pantries like this are planned early next month in Trumbull and Columbiana counties.