CLEVELAND — In small Portage County communities, the government shutdown is bringing out the best in neighborly relations.
Eighth grade social studies teacher Kim Marfy and a few fellow educators at Crestwood Middle School were looking for ways they could help the families of federal employees in their community.
Crestwood Middle School educators gather in Marfy's classroom regularly. It was during one of these meetings that the plan was created to help the families of federal employees in the district.
"I just threw it out there and then all of my co-workers, we just started talking about it and everybody had great ideas," said Marfy.
That brainstorming, coupled with a few contacts and phone calls, quickly pulled together three businesses willing to lend a hand.
Rob Webb prepares cheese to be shredded and used on pizza over the next two days.
K & K Meat Shoppe in Mantua is giving the families of federal employees in the Crestwood Local School District two free pounds of beef. The K & K is donating one pound, and the school district is covering the cost of the second pound at a reduced rate.
Blasiole's Pizza in Streetsboro, and Gioninio's Pizzeria in Hiram are both giving a free pizza to any family smaller than four people, and 2 free pizza's to families with four or more people. The Marfy's teachers union is covering the cost of the pizza and the pizzerias are charging them a reduced rate.
Gioninio's workers prepare toppings for pizza in the afternoon after a lunch rush.
"Definitely a good feeling," said Gionino's Manager Rob Webb, while he shredded cheese for the next few days. "We get good quality food to them at a good deal."
In just the few days since Marfy and her team pulled the deals together, other businesses have already reached out to get involved. Other individuals have also offered to buy other goods for families who need them.
"Generosity breeds generosity," said Marfy.
At a time when compromise is hard to come by, Kim says she and her fellow teachers are giving instruction you don't find in most lesson plans.
"It's modeling at it's best," said Marfy. "I mean, that's what we're supposed to do is model for our kids and that's what they see, us all stepping up."