The Second Harvest Food Bank of Clark, Champaign and Logan Counties, which provides food assistance to thousands of area residents, will become a locally operated non-profit called the Ohio Tri-County Food Alliance.
The transition will take place over the next year to 15 months, allowing the new non-profit’s board to raise money to support the group’s future, said Ted Bergh, CEO of Catholic Charities Southwestern Ohio in a letter to donors. The new board has established a fund with the Springfield Foundation allowing donors to make tax-deductible contributions.
“The transition won’t happen overnight; there are steps that must be taken to make sure it is done properly,” Bergh’s letter states. “During the next 12 to 15 months, Catholic Charities will continue to operate Second Harvest Food Bank. Ohio Tri-County Food Alliance will raise the funds necessary to build a strong foundation and future for our food bank.”
Local officials have been working to develop a new model because it would give the local entity more flexibility and autonomy, said Tyra Jackson, CEO of the food bank. She will continue in that role during and after the transition.
The Second Harvest Food Bank plays a key role in providing assistance for residents who don’t always have access to healthy food options, Jackson said. She said the food bank will continue operate under the name Second Harvest Food Bank.
“This is a great, exciting time for the Second Harvest Food Bank,” Jackson said.
She noted the organization provided food for as many as 32,000 people in the region each year, including servicing about 1,100 senior citizens each month. The agency has about 17 full-time staff members, and Jackson said that number is not expected to change.
Having a local board run the food bank will provide some benefits, including the flexibility to develop new programs and try new ways to serve area residents, Jackson said. One of the benefits, she said, is it will also ideally lead to more participation from area residents because it will be locally operated.
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“We think as a local agency and a local governing board, we will garner and solicit more community support,” Jackson said.
Second Harvest runs several programs in order to provide food for local residents. That includes an on-site pantry at the Second Harvest office at 701 E. Columbia St. and close to 20 mobile food pantries to provide better access to residents throughout the region. The agency also has a program geared to provide nutrition to children in the three counties.
Jackson also thanked several local companies who provide food to the organization. She said about 40 percent of the roughly 6 million pounds of food the agency provides to local residents was provided by a variety of local companies.
“We wouldn’t be able to do what we do without our community,” Jackson said.