BrightView, Salvation Army Partner for Resource Fair

YOUNGSTOWN – Cars were lined down Cleveland Street in Youngstown as drivers waited their turn to pull into the Salvation Army parking lot for the organization’s resource fair and food giveaway Friday.

Since the start of the pandemic, the Salvation Army has provided food in a drive-thru format every Friday. They’ve also been providing free lunches on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays with the same format. In September, the Salvation Army partnered with 10 other community groups to offer extra help to those in need while they wait for their food.

The resource fair, led by BrightView Health, will take place on a monthly basis.

“We’ve had some good donors and good grants that we’ve received, but we want to make sure we use that money wisely and provide the proper food and necessities to people that need it,” said Paul Moore, Salvation Army coordinator for Mahoning County.

On Friday, the Salvation Army gave two boxes of food filled with vegetables, grains, meat and dairy. The Second Harvest Food Bank and Farms to Families supplied the food for 150 cars.

“We received some boxes from Farm to Families, so they are providing the meat, produce, milk,” Moore said. “And we’re providing the canned goods and other things from our local food bank.”

Moore said the Salvation Army hasn’t had a problem securing food. He said the food bank provides approximately 90% of their food, and they purchase from local vendors if needed. 

Before receiving the food, drivers made their way past representatives from organizations that help with drug addiction and poverty. At each stop, a representative would pass out necessities, such as toiletries or school supplies, and a packet outlining their services.

“With the food drive already established, we figured that people, if they are in need of food, they’re probably in need of other things in life,” said Barbara Hierro, community outreach manager for BrightView Health.

Moore said the line was longer compared to the previous resource fair. He is expecting the needs in the community to grow as the holidays creep closer.

“We hope that we have enough resources, but we’re going to do the best we can to provide for everybody during the holidays,” Moore said.

Hierro said BrightView gave materials to 160 cars in last month’s fair and was already running low on packets an hour into Friday’s outreach. She said it’s important for the organizations to reach out to the community in the fall before the holidays.

“Addiction has gone through the roof, especially with COVID,” Hierro said. “During the holidays, people try to self medicate. If they’re struggling, if they’re having familial issues, if there is a trauma-based issue going on, we want to make sure that these folks know there are people who are willing to come help.”

Copyright 2020 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.