This letter is in response to the article that was published on July 20, 2014 titled "Food Bank Dispute Takes a Bite Out of Donations."
The most important issue for Second Harvest, and we're sure for the Community Action Agency (CAA) as well, is that residents of Columbiana County in need of emergency food assistance receive it.
The Food Bank has 29 church pantries, soup kitchens and a mobile pantry servicing Columbiana County that can adequately provide the food assistance needed. In 2013, these organizations distributed 2,005,789 pounds of food obtained from Second Harvest Food Bank. In 2014, they are on track to repeat this accomplishment.
The hard work of these pantries and soup kitchens has and continues to feed needy residents throughout Columbiana County.
Based on information we received and verified, CAA awarded substantial federal funds to only 13 agencies to purchase food. We simply asked why some pantries were left out. As advocates for our member agencies and those who receive the food, we felt an inquiry was appropriate.
Also, if CAA used some, if not all, of its federal allocation at the Food Bank, we asked why the same courtesy was not extended to the other 16 agencies (all of whom are Food Bank member agencies).
We also learned that many local food donors from Columbiana County had no knowledge of the program and were not afforded the opportunity to provide food.
A list of Food Bank member agencies including the pounds of food they distribute and the number of people served in Columbiana County is available from the Food Bank upon request.
We ask that readers continue to support efforts to feed the hungry residents of Columbiana County. We know we will and we look forward to working to resolve this issue.
Second Harvest Food Bank of the Mahoning Valley