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Mid-Ohio Foodbank Reaches 2 Million Pound Produce Donation Milestone

Lauren Sega Lauren Sega Mid-Ohio Foodbank Reaches 2 Million Pound Produce Donation MilestoneKids unload fresh produce from the Mid-Ohio Foodbank at the Clintonville-Beechwold Community Resources Center earlier this month — Photo by Cliff Wiltshire/CRC
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Tuesday evening’s delivery from the Mid-Ohio Foodbank (MOF) to the Clintonville-Beechwold Community Resources Center (CRC) will have the landmark two millionth pound of fresh produce in tow.

The partnership between MOF and the CRC started five years ago, in 2011, with the Foodbank’s Fresh Produce initiative. The program launched after MOF started getting more and more fresh fruits and vegetables and needed to find an efficient way to get the most produce to the most people.

Since then, MOF has delivered between five and six tons of fresh produce to the CRC every week. These fruits and veggies are part of the billions of pounds of underutilized produce harvested annually.  After the partnership was established CRC officials agreed to organize a staff of volunteers and come up with a receiving system in which roughly six tons of produce are unloaded and divided into family-sized bags or boxes.

“More than 14 billion pounds of fresh produce are left unharvested in the fields each year. Yet one in four children and one in six adults in our community face food insecurity every day,” said Matt Habash, MOF President and CEO. “The Foodbank, working in partnership with amazing partner agencies like CRC, can make sure that we connect tasty, nutritious food to all families in our neighborhoods who are struggling.”

Through their efforts, the CRC helps out more than 200 families each week with their food donations. Those families are part of the nation’s 48 million people, including 32.8 million adults and 15.3 million children, who currently live with food insecurity, according to research by Feeding America.

Here in Franklin County, 214,500 people are food insecure. The county’s food insecurity rate is hovering right under 18 percent, one of the largest figures in the state, which has its own food insecurity rate of 16.8 percent. The average cost of a meal here, according to Feeding America, is $2.82, and it would take an additional $107 million to meet the county’s food need.

“We have seen the need in the fresh produce market grow substantially over the years,” said Bill Owens, CRC Executive Director. “Because of our terrific volunteers and staff, and support from our many partners which allowed us to purchase a second building at 3222 N. High St., we have been able to keep up with this demand and get all of these fruits and vegetables out to people who need them.”

The Fresh Produce initiative is one of several programs put on by the Mid-Ohio Foodbank to connect low-income families with nutritious food. The Foodbank website has each program listed, including programs specifically designed to feed hungry children.

For more information, visit www.midohiofoodbank.org.

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