Enter Harvest for Hunger, an annual program started by the Greater Cleveland Food Bank to combat food insecurity in Northeast and north central Ohio.
"Typically the Greater Cleveland Food Bank serves those in need in six Northeast Ohio counties: Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, Ashtabula, Ashland and Richland counties," says Kellie Biller, special events and CR manager at the Greater Cleveland Food Bank.
The Harvest for Hunger campaign aims to nearly triple that reach by partnering with four area food banks, which then serve residents in 21 regional counties.
"It's a coordinated effort," Biller says. "We work with thousands of organizations who support the campaign, and it's actually one of the largest campaigns of its kind in the nation."
Yet the food banks can't do it alone. Which is why they've hosted the annual Market at the Food Bank fundraising event — the "Market" part of the name comes from the West Side Market, which originally hosted the fundraiser — every year for the past two decades. This year's event marks its 20th anniversary, and Biller says about 1,000 people are expected.
In addition to helping a worthy cause, guests will get to sample 50 of Greater Cleveland's top restaurants, breweries and food vendors including Bomba Tacos & Rum, Chinato, Edwin's Leadership and Restaurant, Geraci's, Jackie O's Brewery, Melt Bar and Grilled, Sans Souci, Sushi 86, Trentina and Urban Sweetness.
There will also be a silent auction with prizes including a tour of the Cargill salt mine, plus a raffle with offerings such as an Apple Watch and a shopping spree at Legacy Village.
For wine lovers, there will be a wine pull with 50 different bottles up for grabs.
"For every $1 that's donated, we can provide four nutritious meals to those in need," says Biller. "We have a lot of buying power, and the money that's donated to us goes very far." Last year's event raised $183,000; this year the food bank hopes to pull in $220,0000.
That's the equivalent of 880,000 meals.
Market at the Food Bank is this Sunday, May 3. General admission ($100) entrance is at 6 p.m., and VIP ($175, includes VIP lounge access) doors open at 5 p.m. Purchase tickets here or at the door.