Food bank seeks help

Second Harvest asks for $200K in ARP money

LISBON — The Second Harvest Food Bank of the Mahoning Valley is the latest organization to ask Columbiana County commissioners to consider supporting them with the latest round of stimulus money expected.

According to Kimberly Brock, the agency relations and program manager of the organization, Columbiana County saw an increase in the amount of food needed in 2020 as it was a chaotic year for everyone due to the pandemic. With 25 active food pantries in the county, 3.73 million pounds of food were distributed, which amounts to 3.1 million meals. Brock said local food pantries accustomed to serving 35 families a week found themselves serving 150 families as things closed due to Covid-19.

The Second Harvest Food Bank of Mahoning Valley supports those local food pantries spread throughout the county. Additionally, the organization supports pantries in Mahoning and Trumbull counties. Additionally, the Second Harvest Food Bank has a traveling food pantry that has gone out into the community.

In response to questions by commissioners, Brock said in Ohio any family that declares a need can obtain help from food pantries. They may be required to give their name, address, a phone number and the number of people in their family so the food bank can determine how much they require and spread their resources out to reach as many people as possible.

Prior to the pandemic, people often could go through the local food pantry and pick out items for their family, but due to social distancing many of the food pantries had to adjust to bagging up the items and placing them into the family’s vehicle curbside instead.

Second Harvest obtains food through donations from local grocery stores and purchases additional food with donated funds. Then the local pantries make requests from what is available, either picking up the food themselves or scheduling a delivery to their facility.

Brock said the cost of food has increased over the past year; for instance the cost of peanut butter tripled.

Despite the increase in need and cost, Brock said the food pantries continued to work hard and provide services for everyone. She said she is going out to commissioners in each of the counties being served by the food bank and asking them to consider using some of the money given to counties to support the local food pantries. She requested $200,000 but said anything the commissioners could give would be appreciative.

While the county commissioners are expecting about $10 million both this year and next year in American Recovery Plan money, Commissioner Mike Halleck pointed out they are still awaiting guidance from the Department of Treasury regarding the types of projects or ways the money can be used.

In another matter, commissioners opened the only bid received for cationic emulsified asphalt for paving projects. Russell Standard bid $1,903,550. The bid was forwarded to the county engineer’s office for review.

Additionally, commissioners approved their most recent contract with the County Risk Sharing Authority, Inc. (CORSA), which provides the county’s liability insurance. Among bills paid on Wednesday by the commissioners was a $287,426 payment to CORSA.


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