Lake County drive-thru food distribution in Mentor for seniors impacted by coronavirus crisis

Lake County drive-thru food distribution in Mentor for seniors impacted by coronavirus crisis
Lake County drive-thru food distribution in Mentor for seniors impacted by coronavirus crisis (Source: Laketran)

MENTOR, Ohio (WOIO) - Lake County agencies are partnering to feed over 450 senior households by distributing 15,000 lbs. of fresh dairy and produce each week to seniors in need or cannot shop on their own.

Laketran transformed its Mentor Park-n-Ride lot into a food distribution site for seniors from 12-3 p.m. on Wednesdays.

The Mentor Park-n-Ride lot is located on 8650 Market St.

Pre-registration is mandatory for the drive-thru distribution.

To register, Lake County seniors 60-years-old and over can call Lifeline at 2-1-1 or the Lake County Council on Aging at 440-205-8111.

Aside from fresh dairy and produce, the Lake Humane Society is giving away pet food so seniors can be sure their four-legged friends are taken care of during this coronvirus crisis, too.

The drive-thru distribution process offers completely contactless pick-up by having Laketran employees and community volunteers place the groceries in the trunk of the seniors’ cars when they arrive.

Volunteers are also equipped with PPE.

“During these difficult times, we have to work together to care for our most vulnerable and at risk populations, and seniors make up a large part of that group in Lake County,” said Laketran board president Brian Falkowski. “We know many seniors are not comfortable going grocery shopping yet, so our agencies creatively found a way to get groceries to them in a safe way.”

Laketran said over 1,500 seniors have been served since the program launched in May, expanding its service from 300 to 450 families each week.

While the program was originally slated to end in June, it will now continue to Aug. 12.

Partnering agencies in this program include Laketran, Lake County Board of Commissioners, Greater Cleveland Food Bank, Lifeline, Council on Aging, Lake Humane Society, and RSVP of Lake County.

Laketran said the distribution is made possible by the Farm to Families Food Box program, a USDA funded program created in amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The USDA is able to purchase farm surplus and distribute it to those in need. In Northeast Ohio, the Greater Cleveland Foodbank serves as a liaison for the Food to Families program. The produce and dairy are supplied by Northeast Ohio suppliers, The Sanson Company and Miceli Dairy Products Company, who are Farm to Families approved contractors,” Laketran said.

“Our primary mission at Laketran is to help people. There was a need in our community and it’s great to have all these agencies come together to meet it,” said Laketran CEO Ben Capelle. “We are grateful to the Greater Cleveland Foodbank for recognizing our program and choosing it as a recipient of the Farm to Families program, allowing us to serve our senior families in Lake County.”

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