The Midway Mall parking lot was filled to the brim on Nov. 21 as North Central Ohio’s Second Harvest food bank distributed thousands of meals to area residents.
In a driving Thanksgiving mobile pantry, Midway Mall was the site of the organization’s largest food distribution with enough food prepared for 3,000 families in Elyria.
Second Harvest staff, along with a team of volunteers and men and women from the Ohio National Guard have been exhibiting outdoor, non-contact mobile distributions for nearly eight months. None were of the magnitude of the first-ever mobile Thanksgiving drive-through pantry scheduled for Saturday at Midway Mall, officials said.
This is the biggest mobile pantry event we have ever hosted. There is so much planning going on to make sure this is organized, efficient and safe for all parties involved. The logistics of transporting so much food is quite a feat, said Julie Chase-Morefield, President and CEO of Second Harvest. We will need our entire fleet of trucks just to get the dry boxes to the site. From there, return to the warehouse to load the produce, refrigerated items and the rest. The main thing, however, is to make sure that as many people as possible who need help can get food for their families during the holidays.
Other partners who help make this possible by donating funds, in-kind support and volunteers include Lorain County Commissioners Council, Town of Elyria, Lorain El Centro, Camden Township, Township from Brownhelm, New Russia Township, Meijer to Lorain, FP Rangers from the Ohio Means Jobs Youth Work Support Program and Lorain County Community Action Agency, and private donations.
Second Harvest is preparing to bring 170,000 pounds of food.
Each qualified family will receive approximately 56 pounds of food, groceries, produce and basic items.
In September and October, Second Harvest’s distribution amounted to over a million pounds of food per month.
As they continue into November and December, officials at Second Harvest said they expect even higher demand as the holidays approach.
Before the novel coronavirus pandemic, Second Harvest served 88,224 people without duplication. Until September 30, Second Harvest served 138,708 people without duplication. Second Harvest currently makes 10 to 12 direct distributions per month and delivers food and groceries to 110 partner charities, leading pantries, shelter programs and hot meal programs throughout the region. .
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