In 1979, a group of civic-minded individuals joined together to create the Cleveland Foodbank, an innovative method for confronting the critical issue of hunger in our community. Some of these people represented the food industry and expressed concern about the large amount of nutritious food going to waste each day. Others stood on the front lines in the fight against hunger and worried about the limited supply of food available to feed the hungry.
Working together, these individuals resolved that a single clearinghouse could solicit, collect, sort, and distribute food in a more efficient manner, ensuring improved operations for local charities in the Greater Cleveland area. The Cleveland Foodbank was incorporated to serve as a resource for both food industry donors and local charities feeding the hungry.
In the Foodbankthe organization distributed 400,000 pounds of food to 100 local hunger relief organizations. In 2003, the Cleveland Foodbank distributed 19 million pounds of food and other essential products to more than 400 member charities. This was enough food for our member agencies to serve 14 million meals for individuals in need in our community. This year, we anticipate distributing over 19 million pounds of food to 450 agencies.
In March of 2001, after years of collaboration, the Cleveland Foodbank merged with Food Rescue of Northeast Ohio, another local nonprofit food distributor. Since its founding, the Foodbank had primarily focused on the distribution of nonperishable food, while Food Rescue of Northeast Ohio had focused on providing fresh, frozen and prepared food. The Foodbank is now able to provide local hunger centers with access to a wider variety of nutritious food for their clients.
In July of 2003, the Cleveland Foodbank merged with the Greater Cleveland Committee on Hunger, the organization that ran the Harvest for Hunger food and funds drive. The Harvest for Hunger Campaign is now under the Foodbank roof and already, the efficiencies from the merger are being seen. The Campaign will continue to run every March and collect food and money for our member agencies to use.
Today, the Foodbank supplies a majority of the food used in local soup kitchens, shelters, and food pantries. In addition, we provide food to child- care centers, group homes, and programs for the elderly. The Foodbank works closely with other Northeast Ohio hunger relief organizations, providing food and nonfood products to hunger centers administered by the Hunger Network of Greater Cleveland, the Catholic Hunger and Shelter Network, and the Salvation Army, among others. – less–ZoomInfo