Federal funding was extended last year after the Ohio National Guard was activated by the Governor to help with COVID-19 relief efforts. Soon they will transition out of their food bank mission.
“Don’t know the exact date yet but at the end of March we will be without the National Guard,” said Kevin Grissinger, Special Events Manager at the Greater Cleveland Food Bank.
During the early days of the pandemic, Grissinger says they had around 80 Ohio National Guard members there but as time went on the number decreased. Currently, there are receiving assistance from 24 members.
The food bank is getting more help to fight hunger thanks to AmeriCorps, the federal agency of volunteering and service. A seven-member team of the National Civilian Community Corps will assist in the preparation of food and distribution to families for nearly three months.
“I actually joined AmeriCorps because I wanted to work at food banks,” said Francesca D’Ambrosi. “I had seen the long lines on the news of people who are struggling because of COVID.”
The 46th weekly food distribution begins Thursday at 1 p.m. and goes until 4 p.m. As many as 3,000 families are expected to be served. Those who plan to attend are encouraged to pre-register online.
“The numbers are there, people are still struggling,” said Grissinger.
The opportunity to help close to home remains on the mind of AmeriCorps Team Leader John Marion, a Canton area native.
“I get the chance to really serve the community that raised me, the community that made me, etc. Just a dream come true really,” he said.