The Board of the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation announced a $1,000,000 grant to the Greater Cleveland Food Bank. The action was taken during today’s unscheduled Board meeting as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Northeast Ohio.
Mandel Foundation Board Chair, Stephen H. Hoffman stated, “This grant follows a previous $1 million grant to the COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund a few weeks ago. The new grant is consistent with our Foundation’s profound commitment to the Greater Cleveland community – particularly those who are most vulnerable and at risk due to the pandemic.”
The Greater Cleveland Food Bank is the largest provider of emergency food assistance in Northeast Ohio and already serving the most at risk populations. Their ability to expand services and provide more food to their partners will be critical in the weeks and months ahead as the pandemic continues to impact families and individuals through lost wages, children who no longer receive free meals due to school closings and senior citizens with health concerns and without adequate food supplies.
“We understand their financial challenge given the Food Bank’s projected estimated costs is over $18 million through September 30th,” stated Mandel Foundation President and CEO, Jehuda Reinharz. “We felt compelled to respond positively to their request given their mission of providing nutritious food to struggling Northeast Ohio families and seniors who might otherwise go without.”
Food Bank President and CEO Kristin Warzocha stated, “I was both speechless and teary eyed to hear the news of the Mandel Foundation’s extraordinary gift of $1,000,000 to the Greater Cleveland Food Bank and our local efforts in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This gift, one of the largest in our 40 year history, will help insure that everyone in our community has the nutritious food they need, throughout this crisis and beyond it.”
There is an ever-changing landscape of emergency food distribution in the greater Cleveland area due to the pandemic. The Food Bank is working to fill gaps in service caused by closures of over 222 program partners and the demand for food from the recently unemployed who have never before needed help from an emergency food network. The Food Bank is responding by conducting weekly mass drive-through distributions, packing bags of child-friendly nonperishable food for low income children, providing door to door delivery of food to home-bound senior and clients with disabilities and sourcing and packing nutritious food including non-perishable disaster boxes for distribution by its approximately 780 partner agencies who remain open for service.