CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Cleveland has a hunger problem, according to Aneliza Nader, CEO of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul that runs eight hunger centers in Northeast Ohio serving 14,000 people each month.
And the problem just got worse.
“The very first day that Governor DeWine set the stay-at-home mandate, that very first Monday, we saw thirty-percent of new families being served at one of our centers,” Nader said. “People were already losing their jobs.”
Nader said donations have been steady, but they’ll need more help to meet the increased demand at centers that hand out bagged food as well as toiletries and other essentials.
The Society needs to take additional precautions due to coronavirus concerns, including increased sterilization, social distancing, no clients allowed in the building, and even curbside pickup.
She also expects even more demand for the hunger centers in the weeks after the government stimulus are spent.
"We don't know what's coming so we truly, deeply need the community to come together to provide the resources not to go hungry during the day and night."
While organizations like the Food Bank, which works with St. Vincent de Paul, has held food drives, the Society's hunger centers are in the poorest neighborhoods and especially need help.
The Society of St. Vincent de Paul has fed the hungry in Cleveland since 1865.