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Second Harvest food bank uses $715K it won for equipment

Published: Sat, July 14, 2012 @ 12:08 a.m.

Second Harvest says meals are needed in spite of grant

By David Skolnick



The Second Harvest Food Bank of the Mahoning Valley, the recent recipient of a $715,000 grant from the Walmart Foundation, is asking for food donations.

That’s because the grant isn’t for food purchases but for equipment and other items to increase capacity, said Michael Iberis, Second Harvest’s executive director.

The agency is putting that money to good use, he said, including the purchase of a 2,100-square-foot freezer/cooler for storage as well as a refrigerated truck for pickups and deliveries, new pallets and the creation of a nutrition education program.

Second Harvest officials didn’t know about not being permitted to use the grant money for food until after the Valley finished first in a $1 million “Fighting Hunger Together” Facebook campaign in May, Iberis said. But the food bank needed the freezer/cooler, refrigerated truck and other items, he said.

“Extra food is always a good thing, but capacity allows us to store it,” Iberis said. “In the past two years, we had to use off-site storage because we didn’t have the space” at its building at 2805 Salt Springs Road.

The need for food has grown significantly, he said. In 2003, the food bank provided 3 million pounds of food. Last year, that amount was 9 million pounds.

The agency is on pace to distribute 9.5 million to 10 million pounds of food this year, Iberis said.

In a letter to donors, Iberis wrote about the Walmart Foundation grant’s being used to increase the agency’s ability to distribute food, and that donations are needed for food for thousands of working-poor families in the area.

Second Harvest distributes food to 153 hunger-relief organizations in Columbiana, Mahoning and Trumbull counties. These organizations include church pantries, homeless shelters and soup kitchens, shelters for battered women and after-school programs.

For information on how to help feed the hungry in the Valley, go online to mahoningvalleysecondharvest.org or call 330-792-5522.

The rest of the Walmart grant went to Catholic Charities Regional Agency, which received $275,000, and $10,000 went to Trumbull Mobile Meals in Warren.


1lee(544 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

I bet if you just gave out basic food , rice, beans, powered milk,your usage would drop a lot

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2busyman(239 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

Build it an they will come. I wonder if the thousands of people that voted on line knew that this was for equipment, they would have taken the time to vote. Just what this booming area needs. A bigger place for the moochers to get their free food so they can pay for their cell phones, Direct TV and internet access. Oh and I forgot, their drugs. There are jobs in this valley that are going unfilled, but because we have conditioned some people in ths valley to get up, check if their welfare check is in their account, go take their kids to get a free breakfast and lunch and then stop by the food bank to get more free stuff. I know our founding fathers did not invision this type of help, when they fought for freedom.

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3Iwannamove(61 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

You both should be ashamed of yourself alot that go to the food banks are working but with the cost of rent and utilities can barely afford to feed themselves because most of the jobs out there are minimum wage and a lot are elderly on social security and don't recieve much to support themselves and meds let alone eat. Its small minded Rep like you and I am sure you both are Republicans that think this way.

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4karen826(3 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

I would like to know if someone is getting paid to teach the nutrition education program..I would have never voted if that is the case..

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5peggygurney(408 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

I voted and I'm proud of it, even though I AM disappointed that Wal-Mart put this stipulation on the grant money. How is it helping "fight hunger together" when you can't purchase the food needed with the grant money?!?! That's just stupid. However, I'm still glad I voted, because if Second Harvest needed to expand, then so be it.

@ Iwannamove - I agree with you!

@ Lee and busyman above - typical. I will have you know that one of the recipients of the food bank services is MY mother, an elderly, disabled, independent, social security recipient, whose check just barely covers her rent and utilities. If not for Second Harvest, I don't know what she'd do.

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6bsafeandproud(46 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

busyman - What the founding fathers envisioned was for non-profit charities and churches to take on the national task of voluntary assistance for the poor and needy, which goes right in line with this Wal-Mart / Second Harvest grant.

What they did NOT envision was the
multi-trillion $$$ government welfare system of forced taxation and involuntary support of wasteful food stamp and "free" medical care programs. American citizens are to research, pick and choose which well-run charities they are to support, and happily give their hard-earned $$ out of a free will and compassionate heart.

For all of us to click a few Facebook buttons was an effortless way to pull $1mill into our valley. Due to this generous donation, Wal-Mart you have my future support!

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7peggygurney(408 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

The more I think about it, the madder I get, despite my post above.

WalMart was not HONEST about the terms of the contest. No where in the terms did it say that the winners could NOT use the grant to purchase food to stock the food bank. This little tidbit was not revealed until AFTER the contest was over. I wonder how many people would have refrained from voting had they known the grant money wasn't going to be used to actually FEED people?

Quite a few, I'd bet.

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8bsafeandproud(46 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

I'm not sure why the "no food" strings were attached by WalMart, but free money is free money, and new storage and distribution equipment go hand-in-hand and is just as important as the food itself.

So as long as Second Harvest and their poor and needy clients are grateful, so am I!

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9bmanresident(607 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

O the food bank, helping the lazy by feeding their children. When they show up with their manicured nails and coach purses

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10peggygurney(408 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

ailierdroit - Yes, I did read the terms as stated in the contest rules, and no where did I read that the winner, whoever that was, would not be able to purchase food.

Second Harvest didn't solicit for votes. They were nominated, and then voted on by us.

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11CrazyforYeshua(3 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

As an agency of Second Harvest, I can tell you, we are not pleased. All of the agencies are struggling to feed the people of this Valley, as donations are down. The stipulation for no food is ridiculous, it does not help us feed anybody. Why weren't there grants to be given to the agencies to help us get ahead? THAT is what Wally World should have done...equipment helps them store food, but does not help us obtain it.

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12TylerDurden(367 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

Typical Youngstown residents get handed free money to improve a tool for the society and they get pissed off about something. Hey, maybe Wal Mart told the Food Bank you can only use the money for equipment, in any case, stop being a damn moron abot it.

1 million dollars, tax free, and you find somethng to bitch about. Piss off. You're pissed because you voted under false pretenses? Gimme a break lady.

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13AnotherAverageCitizen(1176 comments)posted 3 years, 4 months ago

Ok so some would not vote if this rule was stated. Probably the same percentage in all cities wouls not have voted, and thefore the winners would stay the same.

But with getting new freezers, the food bank will have a long term benifit instaed of a one time use food product. 5 years from now, the foodbank will still be benifitting from the freezers.

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