Second Harvest’s mobile pantries have become one of the most effective ways to feed families in the four counties they serve. On December 21st alone, Sheffield’s Brookside High School mobile pantry station was expected to feed around 350 to 400 households.
Susan Bartosch of Second Harvest said: “It’s a way to distribute food directly to people in need…especially now that we’re on vacation.”
Bartosch said he wants to help Pantry spread holiday cheer throughout the week. On December 22, he had 500 Christmas hams ready for distribution in Lorraine High School’s mobile pantry.
Bartosh said Second Harvest’s mobile pantry was born out of necessity during the pandemic. Since then, he, at 5510 Baumhart Road, has become a staple of the Pantry staff as he aims to serve those who cannot reach Lorain headquarters.“When the pandemic hit, we had all the issues with social distancing…we did the drive-thru and had boxes of food ready,” she explained.
Before the COVID-19 outbreak, the pantry served about 88,000 people, Bartosh said. At the height of the pandemic, that number nearly doubled, she said.
“Right now we’re at about 120,000, so we’re not at pre-pandemic levels,” she said. People…recovery is (very) very slow.”
The pantry also suffers from the same supply chain problems as most grocery stores as it seeks to supply food to northern Ohio. But Bartosch explained that Second Harvest works hard to ensure proper holiday meals for the families it serves.
“There was ham and it was hard to get protein,” she said. with supplies made by
“We are not looking for profit, we need to rock arm in arm with our communities and neighbors,” she added. “So many people help us, donate and support us. They are with us virtually.”
Andrew Smith is one of the people keeping pace with Second Harvest. As District Social Worker at Sheffield-Sheffield Lake City School, I helped organize the Mobile His Pantry event at Brookside High School on December 21st.
Smith explained that he brought together about 40 students for the Brookside event, and that participation in the Mobile Pantry event counted toward 50 hours of community service in government classes.
Community service also counts in the new “diploma” introduced this year by the Ohio Department of Education, Smith said. Specifically, students can work towards the seal of student engagement and community service, he said.
Second Harvest’s Holiday Mobile Pantry event will be held on December 28th and 29th from 4-5:30pm at Galion School, 470 Poland Way North. Oakwood Park on E 36th St. in Lorraine from 2pm to 4pm respectively.
Bartosch encouraged anyone wanting services from Second Pantry to register through the group’s website or Facebook page. From there, Pantry uses her website Freshtrak.com to track registrations.
“Facebook is the best way to (register),” she said. “You have to be financially eligible so you can go through all of that … and it’s literally drive-thru, no-touch distribution.”