Home Community News Auburn

Friendship Mobile Food Pantry Takes a Bite out of Hunger

You’ve probably heard it said, “A friend in need is a friend indeed.” With poverty rates at an all-time high and one in six Ohio families struggling to put food on the table, more and more people need to rely on true friends who are happy to help when times get tough.Friendship Alliance Church in Auburn Township is standing in the gap to help local folks who need a no-cost source of groceries. Church volunteers hosted the first Friendship Mobile Food Pantry on Saturday, September 8. The Friendship Mobile Food Pantry will be open to the public every second Saturday of the month, 10am-noon in the church fellowship hall at 19126 State Route 44 (Ravenna Rd.), just over the Portage County line in Geauga County (2.5 miles south of SR 422, diagonally across from Sirna’s Market).
This new, free food source is the 19th partnership with Cleveland Foodbank created in the past three years, says Cleveland Foodbank Director of Programs, Thea DeRosa. The Cleveland Foodbank is a private, nonprofit organization that’s administered through Jobs and Family Services as a conduit for food distribution through the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Additionally, about 400 local organizations donate to the Foodbank, including manufacturers, grocery stores, restaurants, caterers and others.
The Foodbank delivers nearly a dozen pallets loaded with food to the Friendship Mobile Food Pantry every month. Last Saturday, nearly 55 families were able to choose a three-day supply of food selections that included breads, grains, breakfast cereals, canned food, baby food, toiletries, fruit juice, dairy, and fresh fruits and vegetables. While the varieties change from month to month, people should always find a wide range of healthy food choices when they come to the food pantry.
Anyone struggling to make ends meet from northern Portage or southern Geauga counties should feel welcome to benefit from the food pantry. The only requirement is to fill out a form indicating annual income and size of household; a recordkeeping measure for the Cleveland Foodbank.
In 2011, the Cleveland Foodbank distributed food and essential sundries to more than 600 member hunger programs in six counties. There is one other Geauga County food pantry location in Parkman.
Northeast Ohio’s hungry include children, the working poor, the unemployed, the elderly, the homeless, and the chronically ill. A report released in 2010 by Feeding America, the national association of food banks, stated that in northeastern Ohio hunger centers:
•    34% are children under 18 years of age
•    15% are elderly
•    14% of households have at least one employed adult
•    79% have incomes below the federal poverty level (poverty level for a family of 4 was $22,050 in 2009)
•    5% of those receiving food are homeless
Church elders Don Revak and Craig Alderman spearheaded this new outreach program, simply because they have seen the rising need among their neighbors, and they wanted to do something meaningful to help. Dozens of church volunteers have joined in the effort, enthusiastic to make a difference in the community. Considering that the mission of Friendship Alliance Church is, “Growing God’s Family Through Friendship,” the new Friendship Mobile Food Pantry is a natural outgrowth of ministry.
The next Friendship Mobile Food Pantry will start at 10 am on Saturday, October 13, on a first-come, first-served basis. Please bring your own grocery bags. Carts are also helpful. For more information, call Friendship Alliance Church at (440) 834-0955 or email at admin@FAC-OH.org.