Second Harvest kicks off hunger campaign

Tribune Chronicle / Bob Coupland Second Harvest Food Bank has kicked off its 27th annual Harvest for Hunger campaign, which will take place in March and April. Food items and money raised helps local food pantries and schools. From left are Becky Miller, resource / development manager, and Michael Iberis, executive director.

YOUNGSTOWN — Second Harvest Food Bank of the Mahoning Valley has kicked off its 27th annual Harvest for Hunger campaign with food and funds drives planned in March and April.

Michael Iberis, executive director of Second Harvest, said money and items raised during the campaign help stock the food bank shelves for the spring and summer months when donations often taper off.

In 2017, Harvest for Hunger raised $232,783 and collected 29,000 pounds of food.

Those interested in holding a food and / or funds drive to help as part of the campaign can call Paige Tomlinson-Miller at 330-792-5522, Ext. 102 or find a registration form at

Becky Miller, resource / development manager, said financial contributions may also be made at Giant Eagle today through March 21 and at participating Sparkle Markets through March 31.

“During the spring months after the holidays, our donations start to tail off and Harvest for Hunger gives us that boost to make sure we have enough food and funds to meet that increased need in the summer,” Miller said.

Iberis said the food bank distributed 10.5 million worth of food, including 3 million pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables.

In 2017, of those who received food 31 percent were children and 21 percent senior citizens. Each week more than 15,000 requests for food assistance are filled by 148 programs.

Iberis said many schools, including Howland, Girard, Niles and Warren, have food pantries to help local children.

“Niles is a big one and will probably have one in every building at some point,” Iberis said. There is currently a food pantry at the middle school.

Miller said the idea to stock the shelves for spring and summer when children are home from school and also to help the schools have food items for their pantries. Some schools have also discussed keeping pantries open in the summer months.