Can You Help Geauga Hunger Task Force Fill the Gap?

The Geauga Hunger Task Force, which operates seven food pantries throughout the county, is asking the community for help through its Feed Geauga campaign. The Task Force recently received a cut of over 90% from the Cleveland Food Bank’s Harvest for Hunger distribution. Prior to 2013, Harvest for Hunger donations raised in Geauga County stayed in the county and were distributed through the Task Force. In fall of 2013, the Cleveland Food Bank abruptly ended this agreement and is now allocating dollars raised in Geauga’s Harvest for Hunger campaign throughout their 6-county service area.

“This came as a very big shock to our pantries,” said Rev. Ed Peterson, Chairman of the Task Force Board and Pastor of First United Methodist Church in Middlefield. “Suddenly, our Middlefield pantry went from receiving $10,931 to $894 with very little notice.”

The Cleveland Food Bank said that it is allocating food based upon usage, not where money is raised. They are also offering more “free” items to pantries, as well as attempting to increase the amount of fresh produce provided. “We all recognize that there is great need throughout Northeast Ohio and want to see those needs met. But I believe that many who give to Harvest for Hunger in Geauga think that money stays in Geauga. That is just not the case anymore,” says Peterson.

The Feed Geauga campaign is attempting to fill the $39,000 gap created from the Food Bank’s new policy and the increase in demand. “We are seeing the need for our pantries increase. Last year, we saw a 10% increase in usage to over 10,000 client visits. Of greatest concern to us is that the biggest increase in use is our senior population,” said Peterson.

The Geauga Hunger Task Force is run completely by volunteer workers and a volunteer Board. Administrative support is provided by United Way Services of Geauga County. Food and monetary support is provided by the generosity of residents, churches, businesses, and social service agencies. Peterson says,”Our community has always done a tremendous job feeding its hungry. For our Feed Geauga campaign, we are just asking people to dig a little deeper so we can continue to meet the needs of our neediest residents. No one should go hungry in Geauga County.”

Donations can be made to Geauga Hunger Task Force, 209 Center St., Chardon, OH 44024. For food drive information, check out the Geauga Hunger Task Force on Facebook or contact Joann Randall, jrandall@uws.org or 216-436-2045.

Geauga News
Author: Geauga News