The Second Harvest Food Bank of Clark, Champaign and Logan Counties is on track to become an independent and locally-operated nonprofit starting next year, said an official from the agency.
It was announced last year that the food bank would no longer be connected to Catholic Charities Southwestern Ohio and instead would transition to a standalone nonprofit organization.
Since then the organization has added approximately 200 new donors who have given around $200,000 this year, said Trya Jackson, executive director for Second Harvest.
Jackson said those extra donations will help supplement funding that in the past has come from Catholic Charities. That funding has varied over the years and that organization is expected to give its last donation of $125,000 to the food bank by the end of this year.
She added that the transition will not have an affect on their daily operations and food distribution would remain the same.
Second Harvest currently has a budget of approximately $1.5 million and relies heavily on a mixture of funding opportunities including governmental, corporate sponsors, private donations and the local United Way to serve thousands of people in the region who do not have access to affordable, healthy foods.
“Over 60% of the people who come through our doors have jobs. They are trying to figure out how to make ends meet,” Jackson said. “It allows them to keep their lights on. They don’t have to make the choice between food or other essentials.”
She said her organization expects to serve about 37,000 people by the end of the year and that number continues to increase, noting that last year the food bank served just under 35,000 people and around 5.5 million meals.
During this week, Second Harvest served close to 1,000 households, providing ingredients needed for a healthy Thanksgiving meal. Close to 600 more households were served at mobile distribution sites in Champaign and Logan counties, according to the organization.
In addition to operating a food bank and warehouse on East Columbia Street in Springfield, the organization also works with partner organizations to distribute food throughout the three counties it serves.
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Jackson said they have mobile pantries that will go to areas that do not have grocery stores close by or whose residents may not have access to transportation.
She said of the people they serve, about 20% are elderly and they also serve a lot of households with children.
As Second Harvest becomes independent, Jackson said they are looking at ways to reach more people. She said that includes involving local leaders and community members into those conversations.
In terms of maintaining donations needed to fuel those services, the organization has been looking to attract more corporate sponsors. Jackson said Mercy Health recently pledged to donate $100,000 over a period of four years.
Second Harvest will also be holding its annual Thanks for Giving Dessert Auction on Tuesday at Mother Stewart’s on West Columbia Street in Springfield.
The event from 5 to 7 p.m. will feature deserts from local bakeries and restaurants. Jackson said they are hoping to raise $10,000 during the event this year.
Those interested in volunteering at or donating to Second Harvest can contact the food bank by calling 937-325-8715.
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