GARRETTSVILLE, Ohio-- Fire may have destroyed part of downtown Garrettsville, but, it has not taken away the town's spirit. A food pantry that helps hundreds of needy families was lost in the flames. A caring community is working to make sure no one goes hungry.
The Nelson Garrettsville Community Cupboard regularly serves about 250 families in the Garrettsville-Garfield School District. The food pantry now finds itself in need. The fire destroyed the building and everything inside. "It's devastating. But, we couldn’t let our clients go without food for an extended period of time,” co-director Mike Elias said.
A call went out for donations to replace what was lost in the fire and the response has been overwhelming. "We are blessed and we can never underestimate the power of people coming together,” Elias added.
They are now temporarily operating out of the former Tom C. Toys store at the corner of Routes 88 and 305. They are accepting donations and serving clients there.
The Lutheran Home of Concord Reserve from Westlake delivered 2,500 pounds of food and personal items Thursday. "When our CEO heard about the need in Garrettsville, he said get them on the phone and see what we can do to help. It really touched our hearts and we decided that this is something that we can do,” Janice Snyder with Lutheran Home of Concord Reserve said.
Dozens of volunteers spent the day sorting the donations. AJ Lunardi even gave up part of his spring break to help. "Like the food pantry, got to help out and unload food for the people that need it," he said.
The plan is to stay at this location until April 7 and then re-open the food pantry at the former Regency Motors building on Route 88.
That is, until they can rebuild at their former site in downtown Garrettsville. "The fire is in the past, we need to look to the future," Elias added.