ST. CLAIR TWP., Ohio (WKBN) – On Friday, families around East Liverpool took advantage of a 35,000-pound food distribution provided by Second Harvest Food Bank.
“It’s overwhelming how much they support us, how much they care and appreciate us coming here,” said Brandon Warner, one of the 26 members of the Ohio National Guard who helped pass out food at Beaver Local Schools.
This is the third stop for Second Harvest Food Bank’s traveling pantry. It brought enough food to feed 600 families.
Warner said he notices people in rural areas are less used to help than those in more populated areas.
“They seem a lot more relieved when we show up. They’re not used to having the help. They’re still doing this whether we’re here or not.”
“If you have to drive 10 to 20 miles to get to a food distribution, that can be a hardship,” said Becky Page, with Second Harvest.
She said she knows rural areas have their own food security struggles.
Since the pandemic started, the need for the food bank has increased — especially in less-populated areas.
Page noticed for people in this part of Columbiana County, the mix of new job losses and fewer food stores creates an issue.
The traveling pantry is currently taking requests on which part of the Valley to go to next.
“Next week, we’ll start the next round of planning so we’ll probably start to go back up to Trumbull County, come back down into Mahoning and end up down here in Columbiana again,” Page said.
The traveling pantry was created in response to the growing need. Second Harvest Food Bank and its affiliates now see nearly 18,000 people each week requesting emergency food assistance.
Distributions from Second Harvest help alleviate stress on smaller local food pantries.