In March 2020, Shared Harvest Foodbank more than doubled the amount of food it distributed compared to 2019. That’s double the number of volunteers needed to pack boxes. Double the size of the trucks necessary to carry the supplies to food pantries. And double the strain on their existing infrastructure.
In addition to the increased demand, the team at Share Harvest was forced to quickly adjust their existing system from a “Choice Pantry” model where families get to choose what they prefer, to prepacked boxes that make the process safer for families, staff and volunteers.
“The support of the Fund allowed us to quickly shift our operations and still provide our service to the community, and to meet people in different ways,” explained Terry Perdue, Executive Director of Shared Harvest Foodbank.
Soon after the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, Terry’s team began new mobile food distributions, allowing people to pick up emergency food boxes without having the get out of their vehicles. In some cases, the food supply was gone in a matter of several hours.
Shared Harvest now also accepts phone calls to apply for help and has partnered with Butler County Regional Transit Authority and the Butler County Sheriff’s Office to make home deliveries for people at highest risk.
“Overall we’re seeing a tremendous increase in the need for food, shelf-stable items, baby care and paper products. The support of the COVID-19 Regional Relief Fund made it possible to adjust our system to get people what they need,” Perdue said.
The rapid-response fund was activated by Greater Cincinnati Foundation (GCF) and United Way of Greater Cincinnati (UWGC). The fund has distributed over $2.5 million into the community and will continue to support those in our communities who are most disproportionately affected by – and most vulnerable to – the health, economic, education, housing and social impacts of the crisis.
Thank you for your support during this challenging time. Our community is stronger because of you.