United Way of Lake County Distributes $146,638 in Food and Paper Products

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United Way of Lake County Distributes $146,638 in Food and Paper Products in a Little Over One Month's Time on May 5 and June 10, 2021

June 10, 2021 – Mentor, OH – United Way of Lake County (UWLC) distributed $146,638 in food and paper products to nearly 40 Lake County food pantries in a little over one month’s time. The distributions took place on May 5, 2021, and most recently on June 10, 2021.

The non-perishable items distributed included $53,000 worth of food donated by local businesses, organizations, and residents during UWLC’s annual Feed Lake County Food Drive & COVID-19 Relief fundraiser which ran from March 1, 2021 – May 31, 2021.

In addition to this, Giant Eagle’s Painesville and Madison locations donated over $50,000 in food and paper products which included toilet paper, paper towels, and sanitizer wipes.

According to Beth Morgan, Director of the McKinley Outreach Center in Willoughby, “The paper products we received were an unexpected blessing. These are expensive items that we normally must purchase. Getting these, in addition to all of the food, has been a godsend.” The center normally serves about two hundred families per month, and during the peak of the pandemic this number doubled.

The center is currently planning for another surge in need as more time passes since the second round of stimulus checks have been issued. “Our community and our center are blessed to have the support of United Way of Lake County. The food we receive from them throughout the year strengthens our ability to serve those in need,” said Morgan.

UWLC’s fundraiser also benefited from a large gift from The Donato Foundation, who matched the first $10,000 in donations contributed to the organization’s Feed Lake County & COVID-19 Relief fundraiser. The newly formed foundation was established by Lake County’s largest employer, Just in Time Staffing, to give back to the communities they serve.

Just in Time Staffing also provided volunteers for UWLC’s June 10, 2021 food distribution to help load all items into food pantry vehicles.

“We are grateful to everyone who has joined together with us to help feed our many friends and neighbors struggling with hunger. I am especially thankful to Giant Eagle and Just in Time Staffing’s The Donato Foundation for the immense roles they have played in partnering with us to impact lives. We are lucky to have such community-spirited organizations among us,” said UWLC CEO & President Jennifer McCarty. 

UWLC convenes with the Lake County food pantries several times a year to determine the most requested food items. Based on this, the recently distributed non-perishable food included Apple Sauce, Apple Juice, Fruit Cocktail, Raisin Bran, Toasted Oats, Corn Flakes, Peanut Butter, Jelly, Applesauce, Chicken Noodle Soup, Mac ‘n Cheese, Beef Ravioli, Spaghetti, Spaghetti Sauce, Tuna, Chunk White Chicken, Knorr’s Creamy Chicken Pasta, Knorr’s Chicken Rice, and Knorr’s Alfredo Sauce Mix.

UWLC also raised $50,000 in cash donations from their Feed Lake County & COVID-19 fundraiser. These funds will be used to help re-stock the shelves of the food pantries later in the year.

Prior to the onset of the pandemic, 1 in 6.5 Lake County children and 1 in 9 residents lived with food insecurity. During the pandemic this increased to 1 in 4 children and 1 in 7 residents, many of whom are still struggling due to the economic impact of COVID-19.

UWLC has a help resource center on their website. Anyone struggling with hunger or in need of health and human services are encouraged to visit uwlc.org/help-resources. More comprehensive help can also be found by calling Lifeline’s 2-1-1 referral hotline anytime 24/7.