New help center aids residents in applying for food benefits - 19 Action News|Cleveland, OH|News, Weather, Sports

The Cleveland Foodbank unveils a new Help Center

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Ribbon cutting at the opening of the Foodbank's new Help Center. Pictured left to right are Akilah Ashraf, Client Help Specialist; Anne Goodman, Foodbank President & CEO; Marcia Egbert, Gund Foundation;  and Wayne Hill, Foodbank Chairman. Ribbon cutting at the opening of the Foodbank's new Help Center. Pictured left to right are Akilah Ashraf, Client Help Specialist; Anne Goodman, Foodbank President & CEO; Marcia Egbert, Gund Foundation; and Wayne Hill, Foodbank Chairman.
Client Help Specialist Shanese Moore assists a client on the phone. Client Help Specialist Shanese Moore assists a client on the phone.
CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) -

The new Cleveland Foodbank Help Center does more than give families a few meals.  The new center will assist callers from six counties apply for SNAP benefits (commonly known as food stamps), medical assistance and about 20 other programs. Help Specialists also direct callers to nearby food pantries and services.

There are about 50,000 people in the Foodbank's service area who are eligible for the government food assistance program that do not apply. That's a number the Help Specialists in the Foodbank's Help Center hope to decrease.

"This program is really important because there are a lot of people in need that have never been in need before," said Jamie Sullivan, the Cleveland Foodbank's manager of benefits outreach. "People are able to apply on their own terms."

Counselors take callers through the process of applying for assistance through the Ohio Benefit Bank. Calls take about 15 minutes. Individuals making less than $1,200 per month may be eligible for assistance; a family of three with an income of up to $2069 a month could be eligible.

One recipient, Rashawna Jones from Cleveland, was pleased to have the Foodbank's help in applying for benefits. "The Foodbank - you think they're handing out meals or just giving away food. You don't think of being able to apply for benefits," said Jones, a client from Cleveland. "The Foodbank is doing way more than people probably realize."

To apply for benefits with one of our Client Help Specialists call us at 216-738-2067 to complete an application by phone, or visit the Cleveland Foodbank during walk-in hours Monday - Friday 9 a.m.to 4 p.m. or call 1-855-738-2067 for outside of Cuyahoga county and a Client Help Specialist will be ready to assist.

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