Cleveland, OH – A new Mobile Food Pantry will be visiting communities throughout Lake County each week to provide fresh produce to seniors in need of food.
A retrofitted Laketran Dial-a-Ride bus, re-branded as the Lake County Mobile Food Pantry with vehicle graphics donated by Avery Dennison, will visit two locations each week on Tuesdays and Thursdays to distribute 60 boxes of fresh produce to senior participants.
Lake County seniors, 60 years and older, may register for one pick-up per month by calling Lifeline, Inc. at 2-1-1 or Lake County Council on Aging at 440-205-8111.
“Food assistance remains a top need among seniors during the coronavirus pandemic and while there are 40 food pantries throughout Lake County, this program is unique because it provides fresh produce,” shared Laketran CEO Ben Capelle. “We’re excited to be able to repurpose a bus to meet this community need.”
Offering a completely contactless pick up process, Laketran employees and volunteers from RSVP of Lake County will place groceries in the trunk of seniors’ cars as they arrive. Volunteers are equipped with PPE to ensure all participants’ safety.
"There are 40+ volunteers assisting each month with the Mobile Pantry, and most of them are over 60 years old," said Cristen Kane, RSVP Director. "They are all so excited to serve in this capacity and engage safely with others during this pandemic."
Similar to Laketran’s produce pick-up program organized last summer by Lake County Commissioners Senior Services, RSVP of Lake County, Council on Aging and Lifeline, the agencies will work together to secure food donations from the Greater Cleveland Food Bank and each play a role in taking reservations, sorting donations and distributing the food.
“The Lake County Mobile Pantry is a great example of agencies coming together to care for our most vulnerable citizens,” said Commissioner John Hamercheck. “We applaud the efforts made by Laketran and all the agencies involved in making this program a reality.”
Each month, 480 households will receive over 14,000 pounds of fresh, healthy produce.
The Greater Cleveland Food Bank donations are purchased through the Ohio Association of Food Banks or supplied by the USDA funded Farm to Families Food Box program that purchases farm surplus and distributes it to those in need during the pandemic.
Capelle confirmed, “We have donations secured through March, but anticipate the program will continue with the support of the Cleveland Food Bank.”
The program began earlier this month and registration for January distributions are already full.
Locations and dates for the Lake County Mobile Food Pantry are:
• Eastlake Transit Center at Captains Stadium, 35300 Vine St.: Feb. 9 and March 9 at 10 a.m.
• Wickliffe Senior Center, 900 Worden St.: Feb. 11 and March 11 at 10 a.m.
• Madison Senior Center, 2938 Hubbard Rd.: Feb. 16 and March 16 at 10 a.m.
• Perry Senior Center, 2800 Perry Park Rd.: Feb. 18 and March 18 at 10 a.m.
• Lake County Central YMCA, 933 Mentor Ave.: Feb. 23 and March 23 at 10 a.m.
• Concord Community Center, 7671 Auburn Rd.: Feb. 25 and March 25 at 10 a.m.
• Lakeland Community College, 7700 Clocktower Dr.: Feb. 2, March 2 and March 30 at 10 a.m.
• Mentor Park-n-Ride, 8650 Market St.: Feb. 4 and March 4 at 10 a.m.
Future distribution dates are listed at www.laketran.com.
Photos courtesy of Laketran
(Copyright, iHeartMedia, 2020)
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