People line up hours early for Cleveland food bank distribution

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CLEVELAND (WJW)–The Greater Cleveland Food Bank has regrouped and reorganized after an unprecedented number of people in need showed up last week.
 
They held Tuesday’s distribution at a new location and put safety measures in place to protect everyone’s health.
 
People came early to the Cleveland Municipal Lot for the drive-thru only outdoor pantry. “We knew we needed more space, for traffic for lines and for people who needed our help so we reached out to the City of Cleveland, they were happy to oblige. They’re letting us use the muni lot,” said Greater Cleveland Food Bank President and CEO Kristin Warzocha.
 
There were several safety measures in place:
 
·       No walk-up clients.
 
·       This will be a drive-thru process and you will not need to leave your vehicle for any reason. You MUST be in a vehicle to receive food.  Food will be put in the trunk of the car.
 
·       Due to safety concerns,  your trunk must be empty.
 
·       You must present a photo ID.
 
Cleveland police helped direct traffic as did the Ohio Army National Guard and Ohio Military Reserve who was also helping to load a box per family with roughly a week’s worth of food into trunks.
 
“The line seems to be doing a lot better, there’s a lot more communication, the process overall is moving more fluidly,” said Captain Tony Keffer with the Ohio Army National Guard.
 
The food bank said they were prepared to feed up to four-thousand families. “We’ve been doing distributions through our food bank for years now, we’ve never seen the numbers we’ve seen the last couple of weeks and we’ve never seen the number of new clients, people that haven’t needed help before,” said Warzocha.
 
“I’m laid off until August and our full benefit has been cut and now that this has happened, you know, um, it’s just hard,” said distribution recipient Denise Owens who came with her children. 
 
If you weren’t able to make it to Tuesday’s distribution, the Greater Cleveland Food Bank says hundreds of their partner agencies are still open and there to help their communities.
 
Anyone who doesn’t have the means to come to the distribution site or lives further away can call the help center at (216) 738-2067 and they will help you find resources near you.

Tuesday’s distribution was a community effort to keep people safe and nourished during unprecedented times.
 
“Everyones working together to distribute the most meals that we can to the people that need it. I’m from the Cleveland area and there were times that I needed it so it’s great to be able to give back to the community,” said Keffer. 
 
An ongoing effort as so many wonder how much longer they and their families will face uncertainty. “It’s very important to be able to feed your children, out of school so you know more food and stuff is getting eaten, and you’re not working, you’re doing the best that you can,” said Owens.
 
The food bank is also in need of monetary donations as they continue to try and feed an influx of people. You can donate here
 
 

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