Over a thousand individuals facing hunger in Ashland and Wayne counties will soon have more access to food thanks to Catholic Charities, Diocese of Cleveland. Catholic Charities was awarded a $5,000 grant to help support food programs in these rural counties. The funds were allocated to Catholic Charities through a larger grant Catholic Charities USA received from the Wal-Mart Foundation to support hunger programs throughout the country.
For more than 25 years, Catholic Charities has provided food, shelter, and basic needs assistance through the Catholic Hunger & Shelter Network, a collaboration of Catholic Parishes, other religious and community-based organizations, and public/private institutions across the diocese. The Catholic Hunger & Shelter Network supports 40 hot meal and pantry programs at 36 sites in 17 communities. In 2015, the Catholic Hunger & Shelter Network provided over 3 million meals.
The funds will be used to help the hunger programs in Ashland in Wayne counties by purchasing new equipment that will enhance their capacity to store and serve food. Catholic Charities estimates the grant will allow them to serve 1,200 more people a year in these counties combined.
“We are thrilled to receive this grant from the Wal-Mart Foundation and Catholic Charities USA,” says Melissa Sirak, Director of Catholic Charities Emergency Services. “As rural counties, it is more difficult to find funding for vital programs. The needs of individuals in these communities are just as great as their neighbors to the North, but financial and other resources are not as readily available as in the urban area.”
The new equipment will be used at Helping Hand Pantry in Ashland County and West Salem Pantry in Wayne County.