PARMA, Ohio — The pandemic has highlighted the issue of food insecurity and food access with more people and families turning to food banks for help.
Friday night, All Faiths Pantry will celebrate its efforts at its annual ‘Music Feeds People’ fundraiser.
“It’s a fundraiser, but our focus this year is honoring our community partners and volunteers who have made us successful and kept us going us going strong," said Felicia Martinez, the executive director of All Faiths Pantry.
The third annual fundraiser is scheduled from 5 p.m. until 10 p.m. at the German Central Organization on York Road in Parma.
Martinez said the pantry has continued to feed low-income and immobile seniors thanks to the more than 100 volunteers who deliver the monthly meals all at no cost. Right now the pantry is serving nearly 300 households in Northeast Ohio.
“Our volunteers are so committed," she said.
All Faiths Pantry, a partner agency of the Greater Cleveland Foodbank, serves seniors within 100 square miles. Martinez said 80% of their volunteers drop off meals to seniors in Brooklyn, Old Brooklyn, Brookpark, Parma, and Parma Heights, but added that they also serve the surrounding communities.
And though the pandemic has created several obstacles, they have remained devoted to their mission.
“We’ve never missed a delivery month in 15 years," Martinez said.
Sue and Tony Vinci are two of the more than 100 volunteers. The couple, both retired, began helping out 12 years ago and said they rarely miss a delivery.
“We meet a lot of people and we see them every month,” said Sue Vinci. "They [our clients] enjoy the company and we enjoy listening to their stories and spending time with them.
“Something nice to do I think," said Tony Vinci. "They're very appreciative. We do this for them and their families."
Sue said the pandemic and safety protocols have created some challenges, like interacting face-to-face.
“With all this is going on, we didn’t have time to spend with them. We would have to leave the groceries by the door," she said. "But we stayed with it because we enjoy doing it."
Martinez said after a tough year on everyone, tonight's event is about being together and honoring the mission they set out to do every month.
"It’s like a big family," she said. "We invite everyone to come and join the family, even if it's just to say hello."
The fundraiser is open to the public. Tickets are $10. Click here for more information.