Wednesday, July 24, 2013

YP Pantry, Cleveland Foodbank

How did 1 year fly by so quickly?! Yes... YP Pantry, Cleveland Foodbank is officially a year old! Gasp! 
Big Surprises for Small Businesses: Part 2
Me too, kid, me too...
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Last July I became involved with forming a group of young professionals to start a YP networking group in affiliation with the Cleveland Foodbank. Never did I imagine what a tremendously eye-opening experience, adventure, and friendship forming time it would be!

Not familiar with the Cleveland Foodbank or YP Pantry? No problem!

Here's a little history and my top 5 reasons why you should consider getting involved!

The Cleveland Foodbank supplies a majority of the food used in local hot meal sites, shelters, and food pantries throughout Northeast Ohio. In addition, they provide food to child care centers, group homes, and programs for the elderly.

The most astonishing thing I learned after getting involved with the organization is that there IS enough food in Cleveland. Let me reiterate that point,! The issue or challenge, which the Cleveland Foodbank certainly advocates to overcome, is that we need to reconsider and revise the way food is distributed throughout our community.

So who does the Cleveland Foodbank serve? Are people really going hungry in Cleveland? Well, chew on this...
Cleveland Foodbank
Image source: Cleveland Foodbank

WOW! So what can you do to help? There are a variety of ways for you to get involved and contribute. Learn about 5 ways you can help fight hunger here. And if you're a young professional, between ages 21-39 and looking for a group to get involved with, here are my top 5 reasons why you should consider joining YP Pantry, Cleveland Foodbank!

1) Get hands on experience! Unlike some YP groups, where you pay annual dues, slap it on your resume and occassionally go to social outings at local bars, this group encourages you to roll up your sleeves and get involved! I dig being a part of YP Pantry because there are so many opportunities to volunteer at the Cleveland Foodbank warehouse and assist with repack events.
New YP Pantry members packing their first pallet in the warehouse!

Actually sorting food, organizing crates, checking labels, and visually seeing the food to be distributed to local pantries makes a huge impact. and raises your awareness of how much need is right in our community!

2) Make a difference in our CLE community! Several YP Pantry community events take place at Trinity Lutheran Church in Lakewood. The produce you may have just recently sorted in the Foodbank warehouse is delivered to the church for hot meals and produce distribution. As a Lakewood resident myself, I was completely blown away after attending the first YP Pantry there.  Serving nearly 200 people, who are quite likely your neighbors, is very eye-opening and truly humbling as it magnifies the incredible need right in our own backyards. Make a difference, and feel good serving someone a tasty meal or hand out fresh fruits and vegetables.

Photo Source: YP Pantry Facebook

Community Meals
Peanut butter and jelly pros!
Photo Source: YP Pantry Facebook

Average produce distribution line
Fresh sweet potatoes, onions, potatoes, cucumbers, and apples
from the Cleveland Foodbank
Photo Source: YP Pantry Facebook

3) Volunteer in lieu of dues! As I mentioned before, I really appreciate the hands on experience. So in lieu of dues,  members are required to volunteer 24 hours of their time over the course of a year. And there's plenty of ways to earn it too, doing a repack in the warehouse, assisting with an on-site agency distribution day, and more--check out all of the current event/volunteer listings by visiting the YP Pantry Facebook events page and registering on Eventbrite. If you're just starting out in your career, or paying off student loans--your time is just as valuable as money! So come out and volunteer, and save your due money for other expenses ;)

4) Make new friends! Over the course of the past year, I've met some AMAZING people that I can now call friends. Our common interest was volunteering, but some of those initial volunteer experiences developed into friendships.

Meet other young professionals who enjoy giving back, having fun, and making new friends. The YP Pantry Social Happy Hour events have included some of CLE's best restaurants such as Noodlecat, Bier Markt, and Grovewood Tavern.

Slurp-a-licious time at YP Pantry Social at Noodlecat!

Ale, Cookies, and Ugly Christmas Sweater Party at Bier Markt
with YP Pantry Core Council Members, Tracy and Kate

Register for the next YP Pantry Social Happy Hour on July 30 at Light Bistro and see what it's all about. And the best part? Donate 2 boxes of your fave cereal at the event, be entered to win a pair of tickets to the Taste of the Browns, andddd 15% of your bill that evening will be donated directly back to the Foodbank too! That's a major win!

5) Stay updated! So maybe you've attended a few YP events, maybe you're new to the city. Find out other fun things happening in CLE too. Cleveland Foodbank offers other fun ways to volunteer like at Cleveland Indians games too. Fill out an application to be added to the YP Pantry monthly e-newsletter list,  check out other YP Pantry Core Council members awesome blogs all about CLE, like Amanda from Clue Into Cleveland and Jen from Why? CLE, or follow YP Pantry and Cleveland Foodbank on Facebook.

So, hope to see you at an event or volunteer opportunity soon to help support the Cleveland Foodbank mission!

*Full disclosure: I am a YP Pantry Core Council member and volunteer of the Cleveland Foodbank. All opinions expressed are completely my own.*


  1. This is awesome! I've heard of the YP Pantry before & have wanted to get involved - I definitely will now! Thanks for sharing :)

  2. Thanks for reading, hope to see you at the next YP Pantry event!


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