CLEVELAND – The coronavirus pandemic is not only a health crisism but continues to be an economic one for many Northeast Ohio families.
On Wednesday, thousands waited in line at the Greater Cleveland Food Bank drive-thru food distribution at the Cleveland Municipal Lot. Hundreds of volunteers and members of the Ohio National Guard helped make the busy event run smoothly.
“What blows my mind even more is that when I started in the spring, they were 1,700, 1,800 cars. Then when they did away with the supplemental for the unemployment checks it jumped to 2,700 or 2,800. Now it’s between 3,000, 3,500 and today it will be more than 5,000,” said longtime Greater Cleveland Food Bank volunteer Terry Rounds.
As 2020 ends, those hit hardest hope the next year will be better.
“It’s going to get better because it’s almost over,” said one man in line.
The Greater Cleveland Food Bank said they are planning well into 2021 to meet the need through additional drive-thru distributions, acknowledging this year’s crisis will continue to impact people months from now.
Karen Poznam the food bank director of communications, said they’ve served 400,000 people this year.
“Since the pandemic has started, a third of the people who have been coming to get food from us are first timers these are people who never before needed help,” Pozna said.
On Wednesday, more than 3,400 people reserved a spot in line in advance of the distribution. The event started one hour early because of overwhelming demand.
“It’s amazing, they’re amazing, it’s a wonderful thing they’re doing,” said one woman receiving food.
“I’ve been here all along through the heat, through the cold, the rain. I realize this is unprecedented. I just can’t believe the need,” volunteer Vickie Adamus said.
FOX 8 featured Adamus in March. She was volunteering then as well right before the pandemic gripped the country.
“We’re all in this together and that if we’re not together, we’re not going to make it through,” Rounds said.
“They’re amazing, strong, brave, resilient people. How they can come through… It’s beyond me and still have a smile.”
The Greater Cleveland Food Bank is planning another drive-thru distribution next week and encourages those who need assistance to pre-register.
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