Cumberland’s Food Share organizers are looking to make the program a long-term one. To do so, they need more space though.
The Cumberland Community Schools Society (CCSS) contacted the village in early July about its needs to help expand the program and deal with some logistical challenges.
“The Food Share program was having issues,” Mayor Leslie Baird said at the July 11 council meeting.
The mayor had taken a tour to look at other potential facilities but none worked. The program has proven to be important through the downturns from the pandemic and able to provide healthy food for a number of residents.
“They’re serving 143 individuals with a food box on a bi-weekly basis,” Baird said. “It is a tremendous amount of food that they’re collecting.”
Overall, the programs serves 60 households, including 60 children and youth, 63 adults and 20 seniors.
Executive director Sue Loveless contacted the village on July 5 to let council know about its need to expand the program as well as to thank the village for its support of Food Share.
“We appreciate the Village of Cumberland’s support for the Food Share to date. Your contributions over the past two years have been integral in ensuring that food box deliveries continued throughout the pandemic and beyond,” she wrote in her letter.
One of the requests to council was for assistance with equipment needed for their space. There is also the issue of space itself in light of the growth of demand. Coun. Jesse Ketler asked whether the current space being used through the Weird Church in Cumberland was too small. A half-dozen volunteers typically go in every second Friday, Baird replied, to prepare the boxes of food.
“The Weird Church has been very kind and has donated that area to them free of charge,” the mayor added.“There’s not many places in town that will accept them without rent.”
CCSS launched a food security campaign in the spring to raise most of the funds to keep the program going through December. As help with the remaining operating costs and equipment purchases, the organization requested $10,000 from the village. The list of required equipment includes a commercial refrigerator, an upright freezer and a chest freezer, shelf units and food storage bins.
Council has supported the program with Restart funding from senior government, which was aimed at helping communities respond to pandemic challenges. However, members of council expressed a wish to make the program sustainable in the community.
“It’s a valuable service,” said Coun. Vickey Brown. “I’d like to find a way to support it over the long term.”
She made a motion, which council passed, to cover the $10,000 request using COVID-19 Restart funds and amend the village’s financial plan to reflect the expense.