CLEVELAND (WJW)-- It’s like something they’ve never seen before, according to Greater Cleveland Food Bank workers.
More than 4,000 people lined up for miles and waited hours to pick up boxes of food during a drive-thru event Tuesday afternoon. It started at 1:30 p.m. and ran until 5 p.m.
“It’s amazing and heartbreaking all at the same time,” said Karen Pozna, director of communications. “We’ve done these distributions on a monthly basis and never seen anything like this.”
The bumper-to-bumper traffic up and down East 152nd Street and Waterloo Road was so bad some people chose to ditch their vehicles and walk.
“Whew, a headache, the line’s long and stood off the freeway for a very long time,” Candice Robinson said.
More 900 people were served in the first hour alone. Two thirds were there for first time ever, and more than half were senior citizens and children.
The Ohio Army National Guard helped pack and pass out the boxes, and Cleveland police directed traffic.
“We definitely couldn’t do what we do without their help for sure,” Pozna said. “We’re so thankful.”
Each box contained a five-to-seven day supply of food including cereal, oatmeal, pasta, sauce and macaroni and cheese.
The food bank is already planning to hold another drive-thru day.
The food bank is also in need of donations. They said a monetary donation is best right now so that they can purchase in bulk the items that are most useful during this difficult times.
“We have to make sure we have the food. We need to get to people in need,” Pozna said.
Anyone in need of food should call the Greater Cleveland Food Bank help center at 216-738-2067 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to be directed to a local pantry.