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Lake County businesses, church team up to take care of children with grab-and-go lunches

Posted at 4:18 PM, May 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-12 18:24:43-04

WILLOWICK, Ohio  — A partnership of non-profits, businesses and elected officials in Lake County have teamed up to help feed children under the age of 18 in western Lake County.

Every Monday morning, a line of cars stretches around the outside of Willow Praise Church in Willowick. Inside the church, an assembly line of volunteers is bagging lunches for children who may otherwise go hungry.

"Honestly, I don't know what I would do," said Marlene Grady, who is a Pre-K teacher currently not working. "I'm so thankful for what they're doing."

The grab-and-go style drive-thru lunch pick-up is aimed at helping parents whose children are no longer being fed in school or who have found themselves unemployed.

"It's a huge help for us," said Krista Lose.

The salon she works at closed its doors in mid-March.

"It's been hard," she said.

On the menu this week: sandwiches from Subway. Each week area restaurants donate hundreds of lunches; the Cleveland Food Bank and donations helps fill the bags.

Each week a different lunch is on the menu. "Next week it's pizza and pasta," said Mike Zuren, Vice President of Eastlake Council.

To raise money for the project, every Saturday council members from Willowick, Eastlake, Timberlake and Willoughby Hills join forces with an area restaurant. The restaurant then donates a portion of its sales to help feed the children.

"You call, your local councilman will take your order and deliver your food," explained Zuren.

Last weekend, the council members raised $1,100.

The church also offers fresh fruit and meals for adults during the week.

"One thing that really amazes me is the heart of the people, especially local businesses that want to give back," said Larry Bogenrief, Pastor Willow Praise Church.

The program takes place every Monday from 11 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. at the Vine Street Church.

Donations and volunteers are needed. Mike Zuren can be reached by email at or by calling 440-251-5381 if you would like to help.