The CFW began operations in the fall of 1983 in donated space in the basement of the Sharon Herald. In the first full year of operations the Warehouse distributed over 350,000 pounds of food through 8 agencies. Today we serve 36 agencies covering the entire Mercer County area. In 1986 the Warehouse moved to Farrell in a building donated by the First National Bank and there we made our home for almost 25 years. In 2007 the Board of Directors began an active search for a new building that would fit our growing needs. We explored many buildings and many avenues, but nothing seemed to quite fall into place. In the spring of 2009 a friend came to visit us to ask how his church could become involved in a ministry to the public. The result of that conversation, not only was the beginning of our backpack program but the overwhelming desire of Larry Haynes to assist the Warehouse in its search for a new home. Larry approached the Board of Directors at the Community Foundation and they unanimously agreed to help the Warehouse by conducting our capital campaign to raise money for a new building. Shortly after, the Greenwood Group heard of our need to expand and offered their building at 109 S Sharpsville Ave, Sharon as a donation along with a significant amount of money to kick off our capital campaign! This was the beginning of many, many miracles that brought us where we are today. Our capital campaign exceeded our expectations and our building renovations were finished in time for us to move in on March 31st of 2010! On June 24, 2010 the CFW held a public dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony. It was our moment to thank God and all the many folks who helped us during our moving process.
In the last year the CFW has expanded in many ways. With the acquisition of a new refrigerated box truck the Warehouse has been the recipient of over 163,000 lbs. of donated food from our local stores– food that has been frozen to retain its quality. This past year showed over 18,000 lbs of fresh produce from our four community gardens, Boaz Fields, sponsored by the local United Methodist Churches. With the installation of our new cooler and freezer which increased respectively 3 times and 4 times the amount of space we had, we are able to accommodate the incoming bounty of produce and frozen products. Our warehouse space increased by 10,000 sq feet of space and a donation of racking and shelving from Walmart gave us ample space to store more product than ever before allowing us the capacity to accept full truckloads of nationally donated product – cereal, juice, corn, beans, fresh potatoes and much more. This increased amount of food gave us the ability to assist the growing number of families/individuals seeking emergency food in Mercer County. In the last five years, the number of households receiving food assistance has risen from 3100 to over 4200 households – over a 26% increase! In 2009 the Warehouse distributed over 1 million lbs. of food – a record breaking year! Then in 2010 we reached 1.2 million lbs bringing us to a cumulative total of over 23 million lbs. of food through five procurement avenues – nationally donated product thru Feeding America, government commodities, wholesale purchased, locally donated and the Commodity Supplemental Food Program for Seniors.
The Backpack program is now physically on site at the Warehouse with an entire area dedicated to storing and packing food for backpacks.
This past year has been a whirlwind of remarkable landmarks for us! We increased our staff by 2 employees, participated in the Senior Employment program, our first Annual Race to End Hunger took place with Rich Morgan of WKBN as our celebrity runner, our mascot “Myron the Hunger Awareness Ape” made his public debut, we were featured on the Mike Case WFMJ morning show, and our claim to fame --we are rated in the top 20 food banks across the country in spite of the fact that we are one of the smallest staffed food banks! Another crowning moment for us was the completion of the artistry of Betty DiGiorgio in our Community Room. Her works of art depict the essence of the community gardens and the beauty of healthy, nutritious foods.
As we look back on the past year we can’t help but be very thankful and we know without a doubt that this was only possible with God’s blessing and the work of our many volunteers. It has been said that there is nothing stronger than the heart of a volunteer! We agree!
The Community Food Warehouse belongs to you – the community – who have faithfully supported us with your prayers, your funds, your love and encouragement. From our hearts - Thank you sincerely from all of us here at the CFW. May God bless you as you have truly blessed us.
- Van awarded to Warehouse by the O' Brien Children's Foundation
- Warehouse participates in a food and supply drive at the Shenango Valley Mall to aid Hurricane Katrina
- Cumulative total of over 19 million pounds of food distributed
- Warehouse awarded national Walmart donation of a truckload of food
- Warehouse received "American Idol" grant of $10, 752.77 to target nutritionally sound food to children
- Warehouse received Lincy Foundation grant for refrigerated 14' truck
- Received first refrigerated donation from Dean's Dairy
- Donation of New Building by Greenwood Group
- Moved into our new facility
- CSFP program began. Dedication to our new facility.
- Warehouse dedication and Ribbon Cutting
- Installation of new cooler and freezer
- Inaugural Annual “Race to End Hunger”
- Record distribution of 1.2 million lbs of food
- First Annual Empty Bowls Event