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The mission of the Ohio Association of Second Harvest Foodbanks is to assist Second Harvest Foodbanks in Ohio in providing food and other resources to people in need and to pursue areas of common interest for the benefit of people in need.
In 1985 Ohio food banks began to develop the federally funded Temporary Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) within the state of Ohio, working in conjunction with the Department of Education, the (then) Ohio Department of Agriculture and finally with the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS). The food banks struggled through many years of programmatic development, federal bureaucratic processes, repeated threats of cuts to TEFAP food sources, and the constant recognition that, even in the best of times, food was generally unavailable in sufficient amounts to meet the growing demand. At this time Ohio food banks worked collaboratively, growing from a loose-knit coalition to a cohesive working group seasoned in the procurement, storage, sharing, and distribution of millions of pounds of food, and managing hundreds of paid and volunteer employees. In 1991, the group incorporated as the 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, the Ohio Association of Second Harvest Foodbanks (OASHF). Throughout these years, our close work with the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services has been replicated in other USDA regions. The collaboration between OASHF and the State of Ohio has been described by representatives of ODJFS to the state legislature as "one of the most successful, cost effective public-private partnerships currently operating in the State of Ohio."In 1997 OASHF began assessing and collecting dues from member foodbanks in order to conduct Association business. Since 1997, OASHF has received state funding to support emergency food assistance programs in communities throughout Ohio. This support has grown from $1.5 million in 1997 to $7.5 million in 2006 to operate two main programs: The Ohio Food Program and the Ohio Agricultural Surplus Production Alliance. More than 72.1 million pounds of food, representing 56.4 million meals, has been purchased with these dollars to help feed the hungry in Ohio. In State Fiscal Year 2006, according to the Hunger in America study, over 1,200,000 individuals (unduplicated counts) were provided with emergency food by OASHF, of these 35% were under the age of 18. In addition, OASHF has distributed $1,420,000 in 6,742 capacity-building grants to over 3,300 member soup kitchens, food pantries, and homeless shelters. These grants help member charities purchase basic items such as thermometers, shelving, refrigerators, freezers, and other basic tools needed to keep food safe and secure.