United Way of Lake County Distributes $20,000 in Food to Local Food Pantries for the Holiday

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United Way of Lake County Distributes $20,000 in Food to 50 Local Food Pantries for the Holiday on December 14, 2017

December 14, 2017 – Mentor, OH – On Thursday, December 14 from 9 am – 3:30 pm, United Way of Lake County (UWLC) distributed $20,000 in food to 50 local food banks. This is enough to provide approximately 80,000 meals to residents suffering from hunger.

The food was purchased using funds donated during UWLC’s annual Feed Lake County food drive this past spring. 

Volunteers from Lake Geauga Recovery Centers’ Lake House were on hand at the United Way of Lake County office in Mentor to help load the food into the cars and trucks of the food pantries that stopped by for help re-stocking their pantries.

The pantries received non-perishable items which included peanut butter, jelly, spaghetti, spaghetti sauce, pancake mix, syrup, whole grain cereal, oatmeal, tuna, cream of mushroom soup, peas, corn, green beans, kidney beans and apple juice. The next UWLC food distribution will take place in May 2018 following their annual spring Feed Lake County food drive.

According to Tami Lewis, United Way of Lake County’s Director of Marketing and Communication, “More than 28,000 Lake County residents live with food insecurity. That’s 12.4% of the population that are hungry or don’t know where their next meal will come from.” Lifeline’s 2-1-1 help hotline received 6,080 calls for food assistance through December 12 of this year.

Mike Cosmo of the Mentor United Methodist Church said, “Our food bank has seen a ten to eleven percent increase in food requests this year which closely matches statistics I’ve seen elsewhere. There are a lot of grandparents and even great grandparents that are now the primary caregivers of grandchildren due to the opioid epidemic.”

Fran Teresczuk, of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church in Wickliffe, mirrors Cosmo’s thoughts on why her church’s food bank has seen an increase in food assistance. According to Teresczuk, “Approximately half of our clients are senior citizens and many are raising their grandchildren due to drug-related problems in the family.”

Steve Jacobs, Homeless Program Coordinator at the Salvation Army, said, “Thanks to the help of United Way of Lake County, we’re able to feed and assist people that come to us in the morning from Project Hope for the Homeless.” According to Jacobs, many can’t find work because they lack transportation. “Some people are stuck and need the hand up we are able to provide due to the support we receive from United Way,” he said.

While UWLC runs their annual food drive every spring, they work to collect and accept both cash and food donations throughout the year as well. Monetary donations can be made online at uwlc.org/give or by calling 440.352.3166. Food donations can be dropped off at the United Way of Lake County office at 9285 Progress Parkway, Mentor, OH 44060 or arrangements can be made to pick up food donations by calling 440.352.3166.