CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Hundreds of cars drove through the May Dugan Center parking lot in Ohio City on Wednesday, as more and more people are turning to help during the outbreak of COVID-19.
The center said 686 households were served, which translates to about 2,259 individuals being fed multiple meals. Of those, 67 percent were first-time visitors, relying on assistance for the first time.
“It’s disheartening, it’s humbling,” said volunteer Angela Wanhainen. “It is staggering to me. You grow up thinking it’s folks who have a choice, it’s not a choice. This is not anything anyone planned on."
Wanhainen has been volunteering for nearly 20 years, but shakes her head, seemingly in disbelief when asked if she recalls anything comparable to the current situation.
“To see the hours and hours of people waiting in line now, we could be doing this daily, weekly, that kind of stuff, it’s staggering,” she said.
The event was a collaborative effort between the center, the Greater Cleveland Food Bank and Heinen’s, which donated food.
“We’re here to help people, to help people feel good about themselves and stick to our mission," said Rick Kemm, the executive director of May Dugan.
Among those utilizing the service was Stephanie Ash, who said her job working security at NBA games was lost due to the suspension of the season.
“[Not] everybody [has] enough to stretch out. It’s just a blessing for people who actually need the resources,” she said.
Ash said she’s been to pantries before, but this situation feels different.
“It’s overwhelming and scary,” she told 19 News.
A walk-in distribution event is scheduled for Thursday at the center, located at 4115 Dodge Ave.
Appointments are required; they can be made by calling (216) 631-5800, ext. 300.
For more information on other services provided by the organization, visit their website.