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Second Harvest holds record food distribution

YOUNGSTOWN — Second Harvest Food Bank distributed a record 11.5 million pounds of food, including 3.4 million pounds of produce, last year to those in need in Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties.

Michael Iberis, executive director of the food bank, said the community’s support enabled Second Harvest to set the all-time distribution record.

“We thank the many financial and food donors, individuals, volunteers, foundations, corporations, schools and organizations that were instrumental in helping us distribute more than 45,000 pounds of food each day from our warehouse. … We are extremely grateful and humbled by the outpouring of support we receive,” he said.

Iberis said community support is imperative to the food bank’s work.

In addition to providing food through member agencies such as food pantries, homeless shelters and soup kitchens, and shelters for domestic violence, the food bank operates three mobile pantry programs and 41 school pantry programs in 20 school districts.

He said school pantry programs allow children to take home food each day as needed. Several school districts also send extra food home on the weekends to at-risk students.

“While we are pleased to achieve a milestone in distribution, we will continue to work to bring in additional resources to meet the needs of seniors, families and children who are hungry in our community,” Iberis said.

The food bank’s mission is to solicit, store and distribute food to hunger-relief organizations in Columbiana, Mahoning and Trumbull counties, and to provide education and advocacy.

“Our vision is that no one should go hungry, and we are dedicated to building a community that makes food accessible to all people,” Iberis said.

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