In Cleveland, Ohio, (part of Cuyahoga County, another Big City county) the Little Africa Food Co-op formed after the police killing of an unarmed black man in the summer of 2016. When the coronavirus began ravaging Cleveland’s Black population in neighborhoods where food insecurity was already a crisis, Mikki Smith, vice president of the co-op board and outreach coordinator, was not going to sit back and wait for “someone” to take care of it.
Under Smith’s leadership, the co-op worked with the Feed the Soul project and other community partners to identify the community’s essential needs and who was most at risk of not having what they needed during the pandemic. Staff identified youth, seniors, and the homeless as most at risk. The co-op created a strategic plan to provide emergency crisis kits, containing food, first aid supplies, activities for families during lockdown, contact lists for services, and suggestions for local sources of food.