Despite some better economic news recent weeks, feeding the region's hungry during the holiday season is still a growing challenge for food banks. ideastream's Bill Rice has more.
Ann Goodman, who heads the Cleveland Food Bank, says things are not beginning to look up for the poor and unemployed.
GOODMAN: "It's getting worse this year."
Goodman says in last two years, the agency's food distribution has increased by 50%--and that the demand is getting more difficult to meet. She says she worries that many feel the crisis is over, but for her clients, that's just not the case.
GOODMAN: When we look at the signs of the improving economy, like maybe the stock market is doing better-it might go above 11,000 and the unemployment rate is not getting worse-those things don't matter to someone who has already lost their job.
A lot more goes into feeding the hungry than you might think. Some 600 programs get food from the Cleveland food bank, Goodman says - from food pantries to soup kitchens to delivery services for the poor and infirmed.
GOODMAN: It's not just about quantity of food, it's about logistics. It's about the lines that are outside the door, it's about the space in the church basement, how many shelves do you have, how much can you fit in the church basement, how many drivers do you have? How much can you deliver, how many trucks do you have, we've had to get more drivers and more trucks and more staff….
Cleveland's is one off 11 food banks in Ohio. It gets donations from a variety of sources - charities, private corporations, the state and federal governments, and individuals.