One thousand turkeys heading to Central neighborhood

A pair of Cleveland entities are partnering to spread good cheer and nutritious food to underserved Central neighborhood families this holiday season.
The Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Diocese of Cleveland (SVDP) will distribute 1,000 frozen turkeys and five-pound bags of potatoes in the Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland parking lot, 2561 East 59th St., on Wednesday, December 14.
The giveaway starts at 8:30 a.m. and will continue while supplies last, says Natalie Schrimpf, marketing and development manager with the century-old human services organization. Providing the food is Fortney & Weygandt, Inc., a North Olmsted commercial construction firm now in its 10th year of supplying holiday nourishment to needy residents.
Volunteers from the construction company and SVDP Woodland Food Center will hand out goods to people from Central and surrounding communities. No advanced registration is required, but attendees must present a driver's license or other form of identification, notes Schrimpf.
According to Greater Cleveland Food Bank statistics, Central is home to 10,717 impoverished, making SVDP's food donation critical in residents' ability to serve a Christmas meal.
"For people who are food insecure, everything from having money to pay rent or buy clothes for their children can be a crisis," says Schrimpf. "Aid for hunger relief is magnified for low-income families, especially around the holidays."
Schrimpf, who has attended the last two giveaways, says the event is far from dour or downbeat. Coffee and cocoa are available for folks waiting in the cold, while volunteers greet attendees with smiles and warm words.
"We make it a happy occasion," Schrimpf says.
The Christmas food drive is one facet of SVDP's service to an economically-disadvantaged population. Last year, the organization provided $7 million in aid to more than 240,000 low-income individuals in the form of food, clothing, school supplies and assistance with utilities and rent. 
Similar to its work throughout the year, SVDP's holiday-themed helping hand wouldn't happen without the generosity of area donors, volunteers and organizational partners, Schrimpf says. Face-to-face assistance for those suffering from generational poverty, regardless of race, ethnicity or religious background, must be a year-round endeavor.
"We value our partners," says Schrimpf. "We wouldn't be able to help people in our community without them." 

Read more articles by Douglas J. Guth.

Douglas J. Guth is a Cleveland Heights-based freelance writer and journalist. In addition to Fresh Water, his work has been published by Midwest Energy News, Kaleidoscope Magazine and Think, the alumni publication of Case Western Reserve University. A die-hard Cleveland sports fan, he also writes for the cynically named (yet humorously written) blog Cleveland Sports Torture.   
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