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Business partners working to save Garden Valley neighborhood through food, education

Jan Ridgeway with Garden Valley
Posted at 5:05 PM, Apr 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-18 18:25:37-04

CLEVELAND — A set of business partners on Cleveland’s East Side are working to save the Garden Valley neighborhood while fighting their own battle to stay alive.

Jan Ridgeway invests more than just her time.

"I had my lights turned off at home, because I paid the bills down here,” said ridgeway.

The retired librarian mentors through food.

“The food is the hook, of course,” said Ridgeway.

She figures healthier options, healther people. Ridgeway said she and Quinton Durham run Ohio's largest food pantry. Some months are busier than others.

“We can work through and sometimes serve 11,000 people from that food bank line,” said Ridgeway.

Ridgeway gives daily, because time tends to take.

"I’m fighting breast and lymph node cancer," said Ridgeway. "Every hug people give me builds my immune system."

Ridgeway’s story of selflessness and sacrifice isn't unique, as it's the foundation of Garden Valley.

Durham, a retired contractor, has pancreatic cancer, and sometimes brings his chemotherapy to work. He passes his experience to some of the people they serve.

"I teach for free, I don't charge anybody to come to my program," said Durham.

Durham is building the future by teaching construction. He's helped hundreds through his six-month courses.

"Keep going,” said Durham. “Can't get tired when you see all the hungry people downstairs."