CLEVELAND — When uncertainty about where that next meal will come from hits, many head to St. Malachi’s Church on Cleveland’s near west side.
"Oh, the need is great. A lot of families depend on these meals to feed the children," said Racquel Jones, who serves hundreds of hungry Clevelanders every week alongside her team. "We run only on donations."
Money from the annual St. Malachi's Church Run helps keep the ministry afloat.
"Our estimated revenue this year was between $80,000-$90,000," said Sharon Lowe-Chapman, St. Malachi Church Run Race Director.
With the popular race now pushed back because of the pandemic, the funding this kitchen counts on to survive is delayed.
"I didn't see the brightness, or the light at the end of the tunnel. I've seen my pantry emptied out several times. But you keep prayerful, you keep prayerful,” said Jones.
Instead of being held around St. Patrick's Day, this year's run is now slated to take place on Sept. 18, which is the halfway mark to the Irish celebration.
"In 2021, we haven't even opened registration because we're waiting to see if the City of Cleveland will give us a permit," said Lowe-Chapman.
Lowe-Chapman is optimistic about the event.
"There are indications like Cleveland’s Playhouse Square announced they were going back to indoor theater in the fall, and so we're hopeful since ours is an outdoor event that in September we will be able to get a permit and have our event," said Lowe-Chapman.
With race revenue postponed until later this year and much-needed meals in jeopardy, St. Malachi's is now counting on the community to keep its kitchen pantry stocked.
A food drive will be held at the church on Washington Ave., off W. 25 Saturday.
“That would have been our race day,” said Lowe-Chapman.
The give-what-you-can food drive is a stop-gap measure until racers can return to the starting line.
"I'm in here jumping up and down about food because it's really needed," said Jones.
The drive-thru donation event will take place at St. Malachi's from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m.
"We'll be using the food here on-site to continue our ministries,” said Lowe-Chapman. There are also three collection sites in the suburbs.
So far, about 400 cans of food have been donated.
"They don't really know how big this gift is. This is going to make me cry. It's really beautiful," said Jones.
If you can't make it to St. Malachi on March 13, Achilles Running Shops in Cleveland Heights and Willoughby and Second Sole in Lakewood are also collecting cans until that date.
The following is a list of requested items:
- Au gratin and scalloped potato mixes
- Beef gravy
- Canned beef stew
- Canned chicken
- Canned corn
- Canned fruit
- Canned green beans
- Canned Mixed Veggies
- Canned peas
- Canned salmon
- Canned tuna
- Chicken Gravy
- Dried hash browns (in a box)
- Dried parsley
- Egg noodles
- Fruit snacks
- Garlic powder
- Granola bars
- Pancake mix
- Seasoning salt
- Sweet pickle relish