Donations have been pouring in to the Westlake Assistance Program this holiday season, helping to meet the growing needs of hungry families.
Last month, the program provided 96 families (nearly 300 individuals) with a three-day supply of food and all the fixings for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. There are already 105 families signed up to receive food baskets this month, said Sue Venick, assistant director of the city Community Services Department, but volunteers are keeping up with the demand.
"[Demand] is a little bit higher this year, but I've been surprised," she said. "I can't tell you how many volunteers I have. The donations are wonderful this year, and this program relies only on donations. Only by the generosity of the community can we run this program."
Families come to the Westlake Assistance Program through First Call For Help, churches, schools and other avenues. The program uses the same guidelines as the Ohio Home Energy Assistance Program, and Venick said she often finds families to help that way.
"We work with the schools and churches, and individuals contact me," she said. "Or if I know of someone, I can contact them. Whenever someone makes a HEAP application, I like to speak with the because if they live in Westlake, they qualify for this assistance as well."
The community services department is collecting nonperishable food items and other necessities for delivery before Christmas Dec. 12 through 16.
"We also give paper and soap products becuase people who have food stamps can only use those to buy food," Venick said.
Donation boxes will be placed at the , the and .
Not sure what to donate? Here's a list of suggested items from Venick.:
- Peanut butter
- Spaghetti sauce
- Cranberry sauce
- Canned meats like stews or canned chicken
- Crackers or other snacks
- Cake mix
- Laundry detergent
- Bath tissue
- Paper towels