Greater Cleveland Food Bank garners support from Giant Eagle in new initiative to feed families in need

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Giant Eagle has committed $125,000 to the Greater Cleveland Food Bank’s Backpack for Kids program to help provide students and their families with nutritious meals this school year, as demand has jumped during the pandemic.



a group of people holding a sign: Staff and volunteers gathering together at the Sept.28th distribution event.


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Staff and volunteers gathering together at the Sept.28th distribution event.

Greater Cleveland Foodbank has seen over a 30 percent uptick in need since the pandemic started. The organization has served over 300,000 people since mid-March.



a woman standing on a sidewalk: Volunteer holding one of the many food packages distributed today.


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Volunteer holding one of the many food packages distributed today.

“We are very lucky to have the support of Parma and Giant Eagle to help us to give food for the kids and helping them get the help they need,” says Diana Davet, director of planning for the Greater Cleveland Foodbank.

The Foodbank’s BackPack for Kids program works with nearly 100 partners to help students who have historically relied on schools for breakfast and lunch. The partners distribute the packs of food to their families — at Parma Senior High School on Monday, in a drive-through in the parking lot.



a car parked in a parking lot: Cars lined up around the Parma Senior High School parking lot today for backpacks full of food, boxes of produce, and milk.


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Cars lined up around the Parma Senior High School parking lot today for backpacks full of food, boxes of produce, and milk.

Parents drove up in their cars to collect backpacks full of nonperishable food, boxes of produce, and milk. The event is repeated twice a week, with each drive supporting nearly 300 Parma families.

The school district’s nutritional services supervisor, Bob Gorman, says it’s incredible to hear the “thank you”s from families.

“Food scarcity happens in Parma too,” said Gorman.

The Parma school district receives some of its own donations, but the Greater Cleveland Foodbank has been helping it supplement some donations.

Nationally, Feeding America — which works with 200 food banks — is bracing for an 8 billion meal shortage by next July.

The majority of food banks report seeing a record increase in the number of people needing help, with an average increase of 60% across the country, according to Feeding America. With demand for food up donations down and everyone worried about germs, there are bound to be ramifications.



a group of people standing in a parking lot: Bob Gorman, Supervisor for Nutrition Service Department for Parma Schools talking with two volunteers.


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Bob Gorman, Supervisor for Nutrition Service Department for Parma Schools talking with two volunteers.

Between March and June, roughly 4 in 10 people visiting food banks had not received food assistance before the pandemic.



a man standing in a parking lot: Volunteers filling up trunks with boxes of produce and milk at a Parma school food distribution with the Greater Cleveland Food Bank.


© Alexis Oatman, cleveland.com/cleveland.com/TNS
Volunteers filling up trunks with boxes of produce and milk at a Parma school food distribution with the Greater Cleveland Food Bank.

Davet says these distributions are making sure families are getting the meals and supplies that the kids need.

Giant Eagle has committed $500,000 to regional Feeding America food banks to support K-12 learning, including the $125,000 in Greater Cleveland.



a group of people standing in front of a building: Bob Gorman, Supervisor for Nutrition Service Department for Parma Schools, a volunteer, Diana Davet, Director of Programming for Greater Cleveland Food Bank, and Giant Eagle Spokesperson Dan Donovan.


© Alexis Oatman, cleveland.com/cleveland.com/TNS
Bob Gorman, Supervisor for Nutrition Service Department for Parma Schools, a volunteer, Diana Davet, Director of Programming for Greater Cleveland Food Bank, and Giant Eagle Spokesperson Dan Donovan.

“Since the pandemic started at Giant Eagle, we really saw the opportunity to rediscover our commitment to feeding people,” said Giant Eagle spokesman Dan Donovan. “We realized we had to do more.”

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