Food Bank Expanding to Increase Food Stamp Utilization

The Cleveland Foodbank Help Center is officially open.  They have four new full time staff dedicated to answering the phones, completing applications, and helping community members access a variety of nutrition based and other programs.  The rates of food stamp/SNAPS programs is relatively low considering how many people are eligible for the help.  This is especially true among those who leave shelter who we find only 68% of the families leaving shelter receive food stamps. These services are needed in the region. 

The Food Bank Program is able to direct anyone in their 6 county service area (Cuyahoga, Lake, Geauga, Ashtabula, Richland, and Ashland) to the pantry, hot meal, or produce distribution site that is closest to their home, through a quick phone call.  They are also able to complete applications OVER THE PHONE for benefits including Food Assistance (Food Stamps), Cash Assistance (Welfare), Medical, Utility, and other programs available through the Ohio Benefit Bank. 

This is the first location in Northeast Ohio to be able to help connect people to these program applications over the phone.  They have trained Benefit Counselors that can help walk a client through the whole process and help them understand and navigate the system.  There are more than 50,000 people in our community that are eligible for assistance and are using the benefits they deserve simply because they don’t know they are available.  The Food Bank staff take calls Monday through Friday from 10am- 4p.m.   This allows us to remove the barrier of transportation and help people navigate the difficult path of asking for assistance.   The Help Center Number 216-738-2067 or toll free at 1-855-738-2067.

The Food Bank can also send staff out to a location to talk to groups of clients/ staff directly about benefits that are available for them.  They can schedule a time to talk to staff at a meeting or a gathering of social workers.  They can pass out flyers or referral sheets about the services available.

For more information on the services go to the Food Bank's website or you can e-mail  Manager of Benefits Outreach, Jamie Sullivan at jsullivan (at) clevelandfoodbank (dot) org.

Brian Davis

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