Cleveland Foodbank looks to deliver 8 million more pounds of food with a new freezer

Cleveland Foodbank looking to extend its reach

CLEVELAND - The Cleveland Foodbank is looking to get a freezer. But not just any freezer. The Cleveland Foundation recently approved a grant for $325,000 to go towards the purchase of a new freezer and that's not enough money.

The foodbank is looking to double the size of its freezer to provide more produce and fresh healthy foods to the most needy. So far, about $600,000 has been collected but that's still way short of what's needed. To build the freezer will take $2.1 million.

"Since building our facility in 2005, our annual distribution has increased by 84 percent," said Karen Ponza, director of communications for the Cleveland Foodbank. "We know that we need to continue to grow our distribution in the years ahead, and by the end of 2014, we intend to increase our annual distribution by another 34 percent."

Ponza said the only way to reach this goal would be to have a larger freezer that will have the capacity they need.

"Fresh produce represents our biggest increase over the next three years. Expanding the amount of cold storage space available onsite at the foodbank will be critical to this work," Ponza said.

"We would like to double the amount of fresh produce so a new freezer will be critical to that goal," said Kristin Warzocha, vice president of external affairs.

She said she hopes to raise another $400,000 by the end of the year.

Warzocha said once the freezer is built, they estimate they'll be able to deliver eight million more pounds of food then they are now.

"A freezer is a very expensive thing to build. Since we deliver over 30 million meals a year our freezer is very large. It's not your typical freezer," Warzocha said.

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