Cleveland Foodbank officials will announce some very positive news in a ceremony today: that they have surpassed their 2011 Harvest for Hunger goal of 13 million meals by raising enough money for an extra million meals.
Anne Goodman, President of Foodbank, said in an interview that despite the difficult economic times, people in Northeast Ohio have donated a record amount of $3.4 million in cash and 397,597 pounds of food.
A visibly pleased Goodman said, “To beat the goal by a million meals says a lot about Cleveland. It says that we live in a steadfast, generous, unfailing, amazing community that is just never ever going to let us down.”
She went on to declare that she has no worries about what the coming year will bring, even though demand for emergency food across Northeast Ohio is climbing and government funding isn’t certain.
“People are always going to be fed in Cleveland because of the rock-solid nature of our community,” she said.
Vicki Escarra, President of Feeding America and overseer of a national network of food banks, said that the growing need for emergency food mirrors a national trend. She said federal lawmakers concerned about the deficit have proposed serious funding cuts to food assistance programs, but that the timing couldn’t be worse.
As Goodman explained, “We’re fighting in a way that we never have before,” as food costs are up 8 percent from last year, with fruits and vegetables up 23 percent.
Volunteers who helped Harvest for Hunger surpass its goal, including campaign co-chairs Ken Marblestone, Charter One Bank president, and Albert Ratner, retired Forest City Enterprises executive, will be honored at today’s event. Since the “Check Out Hunger” fundraising effort brought in the most ever amount of over $1.2 million, grocery store cashiers are also set to receive special recognition.