City of Cleveland launches monthly produce pop-ups as SNAP emergency benefits expire

Published: Mar. 30, 2023 at 2:50 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - The city of Cleveland announced that they are teaming up with the Greater Cleveland Food Bank and the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority to hold monthly produce pop-ups distributions to help SNAP recipients cope with the end of pandemic emergency benefits payments.

The Consolidated Appropriations Act passed by Congress late last year, ended a three-year pandemic-related boost to SNAP benefits known as Emergency Allotments (EA). In Ohio, these benefits expired following the February 2023 issuance, according to a press release from the city of Cleveland.

The Emergency Allotment was a second SNAP payment loaded onto a customer’s Ohio Direction Card near the end of each month, separate from the monthly standard benefit payment received earlier in the month, determined by income and expenses.

“SNAP households will lose at least $95 in monthly benefits, but some will lose much more,” said Cleveland Department of Aging Director Mary McNamara. “This loss of benefits, coupled with the inflated food prices we are seeing, is significant, particularly for seniors on fixed incomes and for low-income families with children.”

In Cleveland, 1 in 3 or 114,000 households will be directly affected by this change.

Three new produce pop-ups will start to distribute food to residents on Wednesday, April 5, 2023.

Boxes of free produce will be available on a first-come-first-served basis at Collinwood Neighborhood Resource & Recreation Center (16300 Lakeshore Blvd.) on the first Wednesday of each month from 3 to 6 p.m.

Michael Zone Neighborhood Resource & Recreation Center (6301 Lorain Ave.) on the third Monday of each month from 3 to 6 p.m., and at East 59th St. & Haltnorth Ave. (in the parking lot across from the Boys & Girls Club) from 2 to 4 p.m. on the second Friday of each month.

The new sites will operate in the afternoon to accommodate working families and residents will be able to drive thru or walk up to receive a box/bag of groceries, available while supplies last.

In addition, the Cleveland Department of Public Health has teamed up with the Greater Cleveland Food Bank for drive-thru food distribution at J. Glen Smith Health Center (11100 St. Clair Ave.) on the second Tuesday of the month beginning April 11, and at Thomas McCafferty Health Center (4242 Lorain Ave.) on the third Wednesday of each month beginning April 19.

These additional services will be available along with the food bank’s municipal lot drive-thru distribution program and other existing food pantries across the city.

Clevelanders who receive SNAP benefits are encouraged to check their standard benefit amount by calling the Ohio Direction Card Customer Service Center at 1-866-386-3071 or visiting the Self-Service Portal at

The following resources and additional support are also available to anyone in need:

· Greater Cleveland Food Bank – The online “Find Food Near Me” tool provides locations of food pantries, mobile pantries, and hot meal sites. Or call the help center Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 216-738-2067 or toll-free at 855-738-2067.

· Hunger Network – Search the online map to find a food pantry or hot meal site near you.

· Produce Perks – Stretch SNAP dollars in partnership with select Dave’s Supermarkets and local farmers markets.

· United Way 2-1-1 – The United Way Help Center is open 24 hours a day by calling 2- 1-1 for resources and information about food, clothing, housing, health care, and more.

· The Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless (NEOCH) – NEOCH publishes a street card with information on meal sites, housing, counseling, and other services.