..

Hunger in the Mahoning Valley

1 in 6 people in the Mahoning Valley faces hunger.

Right here in the Mahoning Valley, too many seniors, families and children continue to struggle with hunger every day. Unemployment, underemployment, low wages, and rising utilities, medicine, gas and food costs often make it difficult for many families to make ends meet. Although the economy is slowly recovering in our area, our pantries are still seeing more individuals and families who were once stable and are now asking for help to put food on their tables.

To help those who struggle to make ends meet and put food on the table in our community, the Food Bank distributed a record 10.4 million pounds of food to hunger-relief agencies in Columbiana, Mahoning and Trumbull counties in 2015. These pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and after-school programs currently fulfill nearly 15,000 requests for food assistance each week.

Feeding America’s national study, Hunger in America 2014, highlighted some of the struggles the families visiting our pantries face:

  • 78% had to choose between food and utilities;
  • 74% had to choose between food and medical care;
  • 71% had to choose between food and transportation;
  • 57% had to choose between food and housing;
  • 92% live in food insecure households.

Of those provided food by one of the Food Bank’s member agencies, 32% were children and 20% were seniors. In fact, almost 30,000 children in the tri-county area are at risk for hunger--that's 1 in 4 children in Columbiana, Mahoning and Trumbull counties who may not know where their next meal is coming from (Map the Meal Gap 2016).

Who We Are

Second Harvest Food Bank is a member food bank of Feeding America, the nation's leading domestic hunger-relief charity.

The Food Bank solicits, stores, and distributes food to hunger-relief organizations in Columbiana, Mahoning, and Trumbull counties; and provides education and advocacy. We believe that no one should go hungry, and we are dedicated to building a community that makes food accessible to all people.

The Food Bank is a storehouse for large quantities of donated food and USDA commodities that are distributed to 153 hunger-relief organizations located throughout our tri-county service area. These member agencies include church pantries, homeless shelters and soup kitchens, shelters for battered women and after-school programs.

The Work of the Food Bank

The Food Bank solicits, stores, and distributes food to hunger-relief organizations in Columbiana, Mahoning, and Trumbull counties; and provides education and advocacy. We believe that no one should go hungry, and we are dedicated to building a community that makes food accessible to all people.

The Food Bank is a storehouse for large quantities of donated food and USDA commodities that are distributed to hunger-relief organizations located throughout our tri-county service area. These member agencies include church pantries, homeless shelters and soup kitchens, shelters for battered women and after-school programs.

In 2013, the Food Bank was awarded the AIB Food Safety Certification for the handling, storage and distribution of dry goods, canned goods, fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy and frozen meats. AIB accreditations and audits are nationally and internationally recognized as the most stringent in the industry.

Currently, the programs through our member agencies fulfill approximately 15,000 requests for food assistance in the tri-county area per week. To meet this need for food assistance, the Food Bank has the support of hundreds of volunteers who help us work to ensure that hungry seniors, families and children in our Valley have the food they need to live healthy and productive lives.

The Food Bank also educates the community about hunger in our tri-county service area and serves as advocates for those who are in need. Through our own efforts and stories picked up by the local media, we ensure that people living in the Valley are aware of the problem of hunger in our community. Our advocacy includes efforts at the state and federal levels to increase access to SNAP (food stamps).

History of the Food Bank

Second Harvest Food Bank of the Mahoning Valley began in the early 1980s when a group of lay and religious community leaders realized that while people were going hungry, companies were throwing away unused but still nutritious edible food.