Call our help center at 216.738.2067
Many people have never reached out for food assistance before now, so here are some frequently asked questions.
Where do I go if I need food assistance?
For emergency food assistance, please call the Greater Cleveland Food Bank’s Help Center at 216-738-2067. We can help determine if you qualify for benefits, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and also refer you to food assistance programs in your area.
There are many organizations with online resources that can help you locate the food programs closest to you. Click on their websites for more information:
If you are 60+, you may qualify for home-delivered meals through your local Area Agency on Aging (AAA). For program information in Cuyahoga, Geauga, and Lake counties, call the Western Reserve AAA at 1-800-626-7277. You can also visit this website to find your local AAA.
If your children are part of the National School Lunch and Breakfast programs, locations for children’s meals can be found here.
If you need help outside of just food and food resources, you can dial 2-1-1 from United Way to learn more about health and human service agencies in your community.
Am I eligible to receive food assistance?
Different food assistance programs will have different eligibility requirements, but many are easing requirements and necessary paperwork in response to the pandemic. One program that any income-eligible individual can access is a food pantry.
A food pantry is a program that distributes perishable and/or shelf-stable food and other products directly to those in need. Pantries are located in many cities and neighborhoods and most only require photo ID, household size, and a signature (typically electronic) as well as a self-declaration of income. If your household income falls below 200% of the federal poverty line, then you are income-eligible to receive food from a food pantry. We partner with over 200 local food pantries to help clients in need of emergency food assistance.
How do I prepare for my visit to a food pantry?
Many food pantries operate similar to a small grocery store- where clients can choose what products to take home for their families. However, due to the pandemic, many pantries have adjusted their distribution methods to include drive-thru and contact-free food pick-up. Each pantry will have their own procedures, but here are some general tips on how to prepare for your first visit:
Why did the Greater Cleveland Food Bank stop drive-thru distributions in the City of Cleveland Muni Lot?
The drive-thru Muni Lot Distribution began in April 2020 as a short-term response to the pandemic. When we first started the distributions, 300 of our 1,000+ partner agencies had temporarily closed due to health concerns, and we had hands-on support from the Ohio National Guard as well as additional food and funding from the state and federal governments. It was not intended to be a long-term solution to end hunger. Since then, our partners have reopened and they are ready to provide service, and we have also opened a new community resource center, with service 5+ days a week. The Food Bank continues to adapt to what works best for our neighbors in need.
The last drive-thru Muni Lot distribution was Thursday, December 21st, 2023.
What types of food items can I expect to receive?
While each pantry is different, they all strive to provide a well-balanced amount of nutritious food that typically includes: dairy, grains, proteins, meats, and fruits & vegetables – all similar to what you would find in grocery stores. Our friendly pantry partners can provide at least three days’ worth of food per household, at least once a month.
There is a wide variety of items that pantries can provide, but since they rely on state and federal food supplies, some food items are not always available throughout the month.
To view an interactive map of a current list of open hot meal sites and food pantries near you, click here.
Where can I go to get food now?
Neighbors in need can continue to access our more than 1000+ partner agencies for food assistance, spread across our six-county service area. People looking for assistance can call the Food Bank’s Help Center at 216-738-2067 or go to our website at https://www.greaterclevelandfoodbank.org/get-help/find-food to find a location near you.
Additionally, the Food Bank recently opened its new Community Resource Center, with an on-site healthy choice market open multiple days a week with evening and weekend hours. This means less driving, more options, and a traditional (but free) shopping experience for our income-eligible neighbors. To learn more about the GCFB’s Community Resource Center, please visit www.GreaterClevelandFoodBank.org/CommunityResourceCenter.
I prefer a drive-thru-style pantry. Where can I go for that service now?
Please call our Help Center at 216-738-2067. Some of our food pantry partners across our 6-county service area may still offer drive-thru style distributions, and our Help Center team can connect you to one near you.
What other assistance is available?
If you qualify to shop at a food pantry or at the GCFB’s Community Resource Center Market, you might also qualify for other assistance programs such as SNAP, Medicaid, WIC, and/or special food boxes for seniors. We strongly neighbors to call our Help Center at 216-738-2067 to discuss options with our Help Center team.