Local food banks handling large volumes of food for giveaways, grateful for National Guard

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The Ohio National Guard was sent by the governor to take over for volunteers when the pandemic started

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Feeding the hungry takes a lot of supplies, cans, boxes, and pre-packaged goods. The sheer volume takes a lot of hard work.

The Ohio National Guard was sent by the governor to take over for volunteers when the pandemic started, and the need since then has grown and the volume of food being handled is up 40%.

Handling that amount of food takes planning.

“Eight to ten hours today packing the boxes, and we had six hours yesterday picking the items that will go in the boxes and taping all these boxes. It’s a considerable amount of work,” said Adam Fuller with the Ohio National Guard.

Problems are few and far between. Second Harvest Food Bank is providing food for six distributions on Saturday. Executive Director Mike Eiberis said it’s a guessing game sometimes when figuring how many people will show but says they are “right on the money” most of the time.

The trucks start rolling out at 5 a.m. Members of the National Guard take great pride in knowing that they’re helping by putting together the boxes.

“Probably not while we are packing them because it is such a busy process, but I definitely know when we are out distributing that, seeing the public getting it has a big impact on myself and my soldiers,” Fuller said.

Second Harvest works with 150 pantries and feeding sites in three counties. It continues to help school pantries, low-income seniors, in addition to the extra food distributions. The need has been great, and the provisions have been available to reach the needy.

“These pantries that we are taking food to, they’re unbelievable people. they are the salt of the earth. They are the ones that make all this happen,” Iberis said.

Second Harvest distributed more than 11.5 million pounds of food last year in Columbiana, Mahoning and Trumbull counties.

Several food giveaways are planned for Saturday, Nov. 21. Second Harvest is sponsoring the following: (There are not specific times for these pantries, but they operate in the morning hours and run until supplies last)

  • New Life Assembly of God, 2250 E. Western Reserve Rd., Poland
  • Concordia Lutheran Church, 125 N. Brockway Ave., Youngstown
  • Food 4 Friends, Winona Friends Church, 4687 Whinnery Rd., Salem
  • St. John’s Red Door, 323 Wick Ave., Youngstown
  • Beulah Baptist Church, 570 Sherwood Ave., Youngstown
  • Southern Community Center of Salineville, 45 E. Main St.

Another food giveaway sponsored by Gleanor’s Food Bank is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 21 at the Canfield Fairgrounds from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Patrons will enter through Gate 8 on Route 45 and volunteers will enter through Gate 5.

This food distribution is funded in part by CARES Act funds provided by the United States government to Mahoning County and shall abide by all current Ohio COVID-19 public health directives regarding mandatory masks and social distancing for volunteers.

Patrons will remain in their vehicles and drive through the distribution line and are requested to wear masks as they pass through the food distribution area. Patrons are also asked to ensure their trunk or cargo area is cleared out to make room for food.

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Mel Robbins Main Area Middle

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