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Green Together: Businesses, volunteers helping during pandemic

Posted at 4:59 PM, Mar 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-26 07:03:29-04

GREEN, Ohio — These are tough times for Kerry and Amy Janke, the owners of 35 Brix, a made-from-scratch restaurant on Massillon Road in Green.

As a result of the order by Ohio Governor Mike DeWine to close restaurants — aside from carryout and delivery — lunch orders are almost non-existent at 35 Brix. Take home dinners are nowhere near making up for the large amount of money the eatery has lost. In addition, the Janke's were forced to temporarily lay off more than 40 employees.

"I know we're not the only ones in that situation," Amy Janke said.

Despite the stress and uncertainly surrounding their business, the owners decided to give back to the community during the coronavirus crisis.

All this week, the restaurant is making free meals to students in the Green Local School District. The meals have included pasta with marinara sauce, Sloppy Joes and macaroni and cheese.

Families are pre-ordering the food, based on the number of children they have, and picking up the meals curbside between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

"We're able to do it. We want to do it. We want to help with what we can as long as we can," Amy said. "We have food. That's we can do. That's what we can offer."

The COVID-19 spread also motivated the city to launch the Green Together initiative, which is linking senior citizens, who may need help, to volunteers and resources.

Seniors can call a hotline number at 330-896-6933 if they would like to receive calls once or twice a week from volunteers.

"In this time of need when people are truly isolated, we need to reach out even more than we ever have and that's what this is about," said Valerie Wolford, a spokesperson for the city.

Carolyn Graham, 78, is on the list. She recently had to cancel her cataract surgery because it was considered non-essential. The senior said it's difficult to feel stuck in her home with the stay at home order, but feels the phone check-ins from volunteers will help.

"It's unbelievable a city would take the time to do this for the senior citizens," Graham said.

Green Good Neighbors, located at Greensburg United Methodist Church, hands out food to people in need on Wednesdays. However, the group is adjusting the way it operates.

The non-profit, which normally provides meals to 200 families a month, is currently not allowing people to come inside the building as part of the ongoing practice of social distancing.

Instead, families from the Green, Manchester, Springfield and Coventry School Districts, pull up curbside, place their orders and wait for volunteers to load up food and pack it into the trunks of cars.

"We given them the paper that tells them what foods are available and we'll say, if you don't want it, tell us and we'll cross it out," said 83-year-old Pat Stiles, who runs the program.

Stiles expects the need will only increase as more coronavirus cases are reported and more people file for unemployment.

"We already had one family call and said they're out of food and they've got kids at home," Stiles said.

Jalysa Jordan, a mother of two, picked up food at Green Good Neighbors Wednesday morning. She missed the personal conversations and laughs she usually shares with volunteers inside the church.

While the drive-thru pick-up option didn't feel normal, Jordan stressed she's glad the food is still available to her family.

"It's amazing. I would have thought they would have been closed honestly because a lot of them are, but they're not. It's a great thing considering the fact that all of this is going on," Jordan said.