Cleveland Catch-Up

2018 Harvest for Hunger campaign launched

The Greater Cleveland Food Bank launched its 2018 Harvest for Hunger campaign on Thursday, Feb. 15, kicking off a series of volunteer and food drives. According to their mission statement, the organization’s overall goal is supply at least 22 million meals to the Greater Cleveland area. reported that in 2017, the Greater Cleveland Food Bank provided over 55 million meals for Northeast Ohio residents in need. Of those families, 60 percent made three or fewer visits, while 36 percent made one.

The Harvest for Hunger campaign partners the Bank with local grocery stores and other companies to facilitate various meal services. Grocery stores accept donations of perishable food itemslike fresh produce and meatdue to their storage facilities, which allows the Bank to immediately prepare meals and freeze them.

Aside from food donations, the campaign needs volunteers to donate their time. In 2017, roughly 17,000 volunteers gave a total of 82,000 hours to the campaign.

The Greater Cleveland Food Bank emphasizes that while many volunteers contribute in the winter season, they are also very much needed during the summer.  

County Executive appoints new chief of staff

Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish has recently appointed Shaker Heights Mayor Earl Leiken as his new chief of staff, replacing Sharon Sobol Jordan. According to, Sobol Jordan resigned for a position as CEO of Unify Project, a startup which fights poverty with big data.

Leiken served as Shaker Heights Mayor for 10 years, and won reelection for a four-year term in 2015. Until City Council appoints an interim mayor, Shaker Heights Vice Mayor Anne Williams will take the position as acting mayor.

His appointment will take effect on April 1, after Sobol Jordan finishes transitioning out of the job.

Cleveland drug traffic case under FBI investigation

According to, Cleveland resident Gerald Knox is under investigation by the FBI for selling large quantities of California-grown marijuana and Oxycodone. He is wanted on drug and firearms charges.

Knox, along with three others, reportedly dealt over 220 pounds of marijuana and 345 illegal painkillers. Brothers Amer and Ahmad Jabir and their cousin, Aymen Abdelrahim, were each arrested last month. Agents say the case involved Palestinian drug conspiracies.

Amer Jabir led the conspiracies, using secret compartments in cars to push the California-grown drugs in Chicago, and then in Cleveland. His brother and cousin worked as dealers, while he transported the substances from the West Coast.

Court records show that at least 200 pounds were funnelled into Cleveland every two weeks. Abdelrahim sold some of them at the Gas and Go gas station on West 25th Street.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office reported that an investigation has been ongoing since 2015, and authorities have thus far confiscated over $2.1 million in cash, five firearms, jewelry, a $5,000 casino poker chip and a Range Rover.