Wooster Hope Center receives matching grant

Wooster Hope Center receives matching grant

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The Wooster Hope Center received a $40,000 matching grant from an anonymous local donor, and the donations will be used to expand its scope of services and the number of people it serves.

For every dollar donated to the Wooster Hope Center through the end of 2021, the benefactor will match it. The money will be helpful as Wayne County’s largest food pantry looks to purchase a mobile food pantry, Hope Center director Richard Frazier said.

Wooster Hope Center continues to provide food to 800-1,000 families weekly and 15-20,000 families annually through its food pantry at 807 Spruce St., Wooster, plus other weekly food services. The Greater Wayne County Food Pantry is scheduled three days a week: Wednesday from noon to 3 p.m., Thursday from 6-8 p.m. and Friday from 10 a.m. to noon.

During the pandemic, Wooster Hope Center and its volunteers served record numbers including 15,000 families and 1.2 million pounds of food in just six months.

“What we discovered while helping families during the pandemic was that it was difficult for many families to travel to Wooster during our three days of food distribution each week,” Frazier said. “We are working to reach more families and make food more accessible in the four corners of the county.”

To that end, the Wooster Hope Center continues helping elementary school children and their families around the county with the Backpack of Food program.

It has partnered with the Wooster Community Kitchen nonprofit to erect standing food boxes around the country and fill them with food. Wooster Community Kitchen had 11 boxes heading into summer. It now has 17, with boxes being added in Fredericksburg near the intersection of North Mill and Diagonal streets, Mayer-Carson Hall in Apple Creek, and on the south side of Northwestern Elementary School in recent weeks.

Will Keim built the two boxes in Fredericksburg and Apple Creek as part of his Eagle Scout project.

Matt Allen of Wooster Community Kitchen, along with volunteers, try to get to each box a couple of times a month to restock them with nonperishable food. Wooster Hope Center provides extra food for Allen and his group.

Area residents are encouraged to drop off nonperishable items too. However, the food needs to be shelf-stable, Allen said. He often has to remove items that will spoil.

Frazier is excited about adding a mobile food pantry, something he got to see in action with the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank. He is hopeful to bring a different kind of food truck online in 2022.

“We do what we do for the love of Wayne County and its people,” Frazier said.

To volunteer or make a donation, visit www.loveforwaynecounty.com, call 330-683-2242 or email Frazier at rfrazier@woosterhopecenter.org.

Those who want to donate with a check can make it payable to Wooster Hope Center and send it to Wooster Hope Center, P.O. Box 1204, Wooster, OH 44691.