North Central Ohio’s Second Harvest Food Bank is preparing for Harvest for Hunger


From left: Juliana Chase-Morefield, Sundaram Nagarajan, Cecilia Render, and Megan Larsen are key contributors to Second Harvest’s 2023 Harvest for Hunger campaign. (Martin McConnell — The Morning Journal)

The North Central Ohio Food Bank’s Second Harvest Food Bank is gearing up for its biggest food drive and fundraiser of the year, with Nordson Corporation President Sundaram “Naga” Nagarajan serving as Honorary Chairman of the Harvest for Hunger campaign.

Starting March 1, Second Harvest will partner with Feeding America to help end hunger in northern Ohio.

The official kickoff is March 2, according to Second Harvest President and CEO Juliana Chase-Morefield.

Chase Morefield said: “In the coming months, we anticipate increased demand, especially among seniors and families with children.

“We want to keep stock in our pantry.”

The goal is to procure 3 million meals, up from 2.8 million last year.

Chase Morefield said he hopes to be able to restock pantries in Lorraine, Erie, Huron and Crawford counties by the end of Second Harvest’s fiscal year in June.

“A pound of food is equivalent to 1.2 pounds of food,” she said. Equivalent to… going straight back to make sure our food pantries have the food our community members need. Help.”

Chase-Morefield described the campaign as “a cornerstone” of Second Harvest’s work in and around Northeast Ohio.

Second Harvest would not be able to operate without Harvest for Hunger Drive, she said.

“It’s not just our food bank, it’s the Cleveland Food Bank, Canton, and Mahoning Valley’s Second Harvest Food Bank,” she said.

Chase-Morefield said the March 2 kick-off event will be a revival of pre-coronavirus pandemic traditions.

Even as the world returns to normal operations, the impact of COVID-19 is still being felt seriously in the region, she said.

Second Harvest has seen about a 30% increase in food-related needs after the pandemic, according to a news release from the food bank.

But in the midst of the pandemic, Second Harvest persevered and came back almost as strong as before.

According to Chase-Morefield, Second Harvest’s volunteer community is unique in its dedication.

“We have recovered through volunteers in a way that many other food banks have not,” she said. “Other food banks actually hire temporary staff in their warehouses, but we didn’t.

“A volunteer called me and said, ‘When are you coming back?'”

Honorary chairman

Second Harvest has partnered with Westlake-based Nordson Corp. to offer drive lead gifts.

“In many ways, for us, this is a big part of who we are,” Nagarajan said. “Working in the community and investing in the community is a big part of it…this is nothing new that we do. We have a long history of doing that.”

Chase-Morefield said the pantry is due to Nagarajan and Nordson.

Without the company’s support, Second Harvest, along with its other corporate partners, would not have survived the pandemic.

“The facility, that is the Nordson Food Distribution Center, without which we certainly would not have been able to meet the needs of the pandemic.

Pantry will partner with local supermarkets for ‘Check Out Hunger’, where the community can support the campaign.

According to Second Harvest, shoppers at Giant Eagle, Heinen’s, or Buehler’s Fresh Foods stores can scan coupons to support the Harvest for Hunger drive.

“Anyone can come to kickoff,” said Chase Morefield. “But I think the way most people see it is probably when they’re at the grocery store, or when they’re at Giant He Eagle, or when they’re at Heinens.

“They can donate through the checkout or website.”

Second Harvest’s website is

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