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“Nothing” Can Help End Hunger in Ohio

Charter One, Food Banks doing something about nothing

CLEVELAND (July 12, 2011) -  Too often, too many Ohioans have nothing to eat. In Cleveland, a single mom tells her 10-year-old daughter that there’s nothing for dinner. In Columbus, a senior citizen on a fixed income stretches what should be one meal into two or three or even four meals. In Toledo, an honored military veteran who is down on his luck worries again about how he is going to put food on the table for his young family.

An innovative campaign announced today aims to change that, and it’s all about “Nothing.” The effort – being led by the Ohio Association of Second Harvest Foodbanks (OASHF), regional food banks and Charter One – is designed to sharply make the point that nothing is what many families have to eat. To drive the point home, cans of “Nothing” are being sold in Cleveland.

The Charter One Foundation made the lead gift of $50,000 to the Nothing Campaign.

“Many of us take it for granted that we have food in our refrigerators and cupboards,” said Ken Marblestone, president of Charter One in Ohio. “But the fact is that too many of our neighbors are having a tough time making ends meet – and that sometimes means nothing to eat. All of us need to get involved and do something about nothing.”

For many Ohioans, hunger is a reality – one that has become more apparent in the last 18 months, as lines at food pantries and soup kitchens throughout the state have continued to grow longer. As a result of the economic downturn and unemployment, more families and individuals have found themselves in need of help.

With this increase in demand, Ohio’s emergency food assistance network, including food banks, food pantries, soup kitchens and homeless shelters, are striving to educate the general public and encouraging individuals, organizations and businesses to get involved in the fight against hunger. 

To demonstrate how “Nothing” can help end hunger in Ohio, representatives from OASHF, Ohio’s largest charitable response to hunger, Charter One and regional food bank representatives today launched the “Nothing” Campaign.

The campaign began today and runs through September 2011. To raise awareness and get Ohioans involved in “Nothing,” OASHF and its member food banks throughout the state have partnered with retailers, civic organizations and community partners to sell cans of “Nothing.”

The cans are being sold for $3. In northeast Ohio, the cans can be obtained at the Cleveland Foodbank at 15500 South Waterloo Road. Proceeds go to the food bank to buy meals for the hungry. Supporters can maximize their contributions by filling the cans with donations and returning them to the food bank.

Anne Campbell Goodman, executive director of the Cleveland Foodbank, said, “The economic downturn touched all of us, but it affected some greater Clevelanders much more drastically. There are many people in northeast Ohio who are living on the edge, and too often that means they go without eating. The Nothing Campaign is brimming with good effort and good intentions – now we just need the public to support us so can help reduce hunger locally.”

To help raise awareness, through the Ohio Association of Broadcasters, media partners from throughout the state have joined together to bring the reality of hunger in Ohio to life through donated public service announcements for television and radio, as well as ads and billboards that will be visible over the next six weeks.

For every dollar that is contributed to the Nothing Campaign, the Cleveland Foodbank is able to provide four meals. The Ohio Association of Second Harvest Foodbanks and its member food banks distributed 135 million pounds of food during State Fiscal Year 2010. The Cleveland Foodbank distributed 32.9 million pounds of food to 618 member agencies in northeast Ohio in 2010.

In addition to buying these cans, individuals can also become involved by making an online contribution at www.Nothing.org or by texting FOODBANK to 85944 from a mobile phone.

Cleveland Independents signed on as the first partner with a $1,000 donation on behalf of its restaurant members with outreach planned to their 10,000 subscribers.

To learn more, visit www.nothing.org/ohio.

About Charter One
Charter One is a division of RBS Citizens, N.A., operating in Illinois, Michigan and Ohio. It has approximately 370 branches and 600 ATMs. It has 150 branches and 181 ATMs in Ohio. 

RBS Citizens, N.A. is a subsidiary of Citizens Financial Group, Inc., a $132 billion commercial bank holding company headquartered in Providence, R.I. CFG’s two bank subsidiaries are RBS Citizens, N.A. and Citizens Bank of Pennsylvania. They operate a 12-state branch network under the Citizens Bank brand in Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont, and the Charter One brand in Illinois, Michigan and Ohio. CFG has non-branch retail and commercial offices in more than 30 states. CFG is owned by RBS (The Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc). 

About the Ohio Association of Second Harvest Foodbanks
OASHF is Ohio’s largest charitable response to hunger, representing Ohio’s 12 Feeding America foodbanks and 3,000 member charities including food pantries, soup kitchens and shelters. In SFY 2010, OASHF and its member foodbanks were able to acquire and distribute over 135 million pounds of food and grocery items. For more information, visit www.oashf.org.

About Cleveland Foodbank
The Cleveland Foodbank provides food and critical nonfood products to local nonprofit organizations, which serve hungry individuals across Northeast Ohio. In 2010, it distributed 32.9 million pounds of food to more than 600 local food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and other programs such as child-care centers and homes for the elderly in six counties, including Cuyahoga, Ashland, Richland, Lake, Geauga and Ashtabula. This summer, the Community West Foundation will match every individual donation to the Cleveland Foodbank dollar for dollar, up to $100,000. For more information, visit www.ClevelandFoodbank.org.