(Cleveland, OH) - With a focus on expanding food distribution and reducing hunger across the region, the Greater Cleveland Food Bank will break ground on a new food distribution center at 13815 Coit Road on April 14, 1 p.m.
The 197,000-square-foot facility, which will house all Food Bank intake, distribution and production activities, is designed to satisfy both the Food Bank’s short-term needs and long-term growth. It will include additional space for dry food storage, increased cold storage space for perishable items, a larger kitchen for meal preparation, areas for volunteer projects, community meeting space, new equipment, an increased fleet, and expanded IT capacity.
The new facility is part of a two-fold, transformative capital project that will give the Food Bank more space to address the root causes of food insecurity. Once the facility on Coit Road is completed, the Food Bank will also renovate its existing South Waterloo Road headquarters as part of this expansion initiative aimed at improving the Food Bank’s flexibility and growth trajectory to address increased client needs.
“Even before the pandemic, the Food Bank has been operating at maximum capacity and efficiency to distribute food directly at our site and also through our partner agency network,” said GCFB President and CEO Kristin Warzocha. “We’ve recently had to turn away food donations due to lack of on-site storage and needed to use off-site storage alternatives. The coronavirus pandemic has only exacerbated our community’s need and further stretched our already tight resources and limited space.”
Warzocha said that with the new Coit Road facility and renovations at the South Waterloo location, the Food Bank and its board envision a community where everyone has access to nutritious food without choosing between eating a meal or meeting other basis needs. Last year, the Food Bank served nearly one in four people in its six-county service area, which includes Cuyahoga, Ashtabula, Geauga, Lake, Ashland and Richland counties.
Between March 2020 and March 2021, the Food Bank served 414,000 clients with 170,000 of them new clients. The Food Bank and its programmatic partners have served twice as many new people at emergency feeding sites since the year prior to the pandemic.
“We have the ability and the responsibility to address longtime challenges with new ideas and creative solutions,” said GCFB Board Chair Darnell Brown. “We have a plan to provide food for all, and this expansion initiative will make it possible.”
(Copyright, iHeartMedia 2021 Photo by: Greater Cleveland Food Bank)