Preventing hunger in northeastern Ohio, including the counties of Cuyahoga, Ashtabula, Lake, Ashland, Geauga and Richland, the Greater Cleveland Food Bank provides support to families or individuals that are struggling. Too many families in the city and surrounding counties need help on a monthly basis in obtaining affordable, healthy food for themselves and their children. Too many are facing hunger, and the Food Bank can help address this crisis.
The non-profit offers a few solutions to the public. While they do not directly provided food or groceries to the needy, they organization services and solutions across the region, and they are focused on helping those families facing poverty or that need assistance. They coordinate the largest hunger relief operation in the region, including Cuyahoga, Geauga, and other counties.
The first point of contact is their Help Center. The non-profit is committed to connecting individuals, senior citizens and low income families in need with the food assistance they need. There is information available over a toll free number, or people can walk into the main office.
This Help Center will provide everything from referrals to food pantries to applications for public aid such as WIC, home delivered meals, SSI disability, HELP for heating bills, free school lunches, or SNAP food stamps. They actually process applications for any Ohio or federal government benefits, and not those that focus strictly on food.
All information provided, or assistance for applying, is free and confidential. The applicants have no obligations to agree to anything the Food Bank recommends, but they will try to help to the best of their capacity.
Referrals are of course provided. The Greater Cleveland Food Bank has information on hundreds of pantries, soup kitchens for hot meals, holiday party of meal sites, and even mobile pantries. Many of these have an emergency service too or after hour phone numbers. The staff will provide the hours, any income requirements, and more. This service will save people time in their quest for help.
SNAP applications can be done over the phone as well, and the number is 1-855-738-2067. This is the nation’s leading food or hunger prevention program, and it will provide Cleveland area families with an EBT card that they can use to buy food at their local grocery store.
In general, low-income people with dependent children, the disabled, and the elderly may be qualified for SNAP benefits. There is no time limit for SNAP for people who are elderly, families with children or individuals that have disabilities.
Another key partner is FNS, or the Food and Nutrition Service. The Food Bank works with state of Ohio agencies, faith-based organizations, and nutrition educators to ensure that those eligible for nutrition assistance apply for the benefits they are entitled too.
Fresh produce is available in northeastern Ohio too. Millions of pounds are passed out every year in counties including Cuyahoga, Lake and others. There may be fruits, eggplants, apples, and even recipes for how to best prepare these items.
Free meals are served in the region by Greater Cleveland Food Bank as well as its partners. The focus is on children and senior citizens, and everything served will meet USDA nutrition requirements. There may be pastas, soups, meats, and more offered. There are hundreds of charities and shelters that work with the Food Bank on serving emergency meals that are prepared for needy or even homeless.
Education and advocacy for the poor and hungry is also available in the area. There are volunteers and staff that offer classes so families learn the importance of eating a variety of healthy proteins, fruits, dairy items, vegetables, and whole grains. This will lead clients onto a long term, healthy lifestyle, and also ensure they budget their income wisely when buying groceries on their own.
For more information, dial 1-855-738-2067 or the main address is 15500 S. Waterloo Rd., Cleveland 44110.
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