I have been a part of the outreach committee at my local church since 2014. Twice a month we service the community by hand out food. We service anywhere from 100 to 200 families which equates to about 430 people and the majority of those are children. We are currently scheduled to start back outside on April 17th and anticipate approximately 150 families.
Although there are many families that benefit from the Greater Cleveland Food Bank it’s baffling and quite disturbing that I still see neglected children and adults laying on the ground in frigid weather. It’s not uncommon to see people throughout the city trying to stay warm while carrying all they have. Or laying on grates to stay warm in downtown Cleveland. As a team we ride around with basic necessities in our vehicles at all times.
However, on February 28th I was driving thru the City of East Cleveland when I saw a little girl not more than 3 years old walking behind (what appeared to be a man and a woman) I became really annoyed that the adults had on jackets but the child didn’t. I kept going and finished running the errand that I was originally headed to. After the errand, I back tracked wanting to see where they were. I was still annoyed thinking what kind of parent would have on a coat and the child didn’t this time of year. Although earlier it was a nice day the weather was quickly turning cooler. As I turned the corner onto Euclid Avenue I saw them and pulled into the shopping plaza that they were in. I parked to see how to approach the situation, However, surprisingly the people that I thought were adults were in fact children in adult clothing the oldest didn’t appear to be more than 14. They were extremely dirty and unkept. I couldn’t help but cry because the situation made me feel helpless. I didn’t feel comfortable approaching children regarding adult matters. They were waiting to get into a store that sells outdated food. I saw that the boy was holding the little girls coat in his arms so I felt a little better. The young girl was holding another baby in her arms asleep with a book bag on her back.
Eventually they went into the store and I left wondering how can I do better? How can I help in these situations? I don’t want to be a spectator but someone that can actually help! I reached out to the chairperson of our committee called: Time and a season she has a direct connection to the Greater Cleveland Food bank. We signed up for a program to feed the children after school. Because many of the children wouldn’t get a meal if it wasn’t for the school lunch programs. So now they can pick up a meal during the week. And on Fridays to carry them thru the weekend. It isn’t much but it’s a start.
Resources for the Greater Cleveland Food bank: https://www.greaterclevelandfoodbank.org