In 2022 we:
January - January was a very quiet month. We had a family that was in need of food, but without transportation. We picked up and delivered the food and shopped for additional food items not found at the food pantry.
February - We were contacted by Family Pride of Northeast Ohio. There was a person who was in a nursing home, regaining strength after an illness that led her/him to a hospital stay. The person could not return home until the apartment had been cleaned and sanitized. Jobs and Family Services and Family Pride of Northeast Ohio were able to provide some of the money. The person was financially unable to pay anything and couldn’t come home until she/he could. We provided the monetary difference. We also volunteered to be on the premises for part of the cleaning time, as it was required to have someone there during the cleaning process.
March - Again, Claridon Community Helps had a quiet month.
April - At the beginning of April, we held a free, community event “What is That?” We displayed items at the Claridon Town Hall from a few years ago and then a few more years before that. For some, it was a walk down memory lane. For the younger generation it was fun to watch them try to figure out what some of the items were. They also questioned why we would use other items.
We were contacted by the Department of Aging. They were working with a senior citizen who needed a hot water tank. Multiple agencies worked together including the Department of Aging, United Way and Claridon Community Helps to have the hot water tank purchased and installed.
We had a request for rent assistance. The person’s vehicle was in need of repair in order to continue going to work and taking online school classes. They repaired the car, but used their rent money to do so. We paid a portion of their rent.
Additionally, we had a family contact us for food. Without transportation, they were not able to get to the food bank. Not only did we pick up and deliver food to the family, we also stopped by the eye doctor to pick up the prescription eye glasses for them.
May - Geauga Faith Rescue Mission, is a men’s homeless shelter here in Geauga County. In May we provided a fruit and veggie tray for their golf outing.
Children in most of the schools in Geauga County were finished for the year before Memorial Day. Kicking off its 4th year, “Now That’s What I’m Talking About!” Summer Lunch program returned for children in Geauga County.
June - As the temperature began to rise for summer, so did our request for assistance. The main income provider of the family was injured. Their money had run out, short term disability had not arrived yet and eviction notice would be arriving within the next week. We were able to provide the house payment for that month. The short-term disability check arrived shortly after, and he was able to return to work before summer was over.
Food insecurity is very real for many families. We were again contacted for food assistance. This family had used the food pantry, but still needed additional food for the month.
In June of 2021, the ceiling came down in the sanctuary of Claridon Congregational Church. Claridon Community Helps, a nonprofit is not a program of Claridon Congregational Church. With that said, Claridon Congregational Church has graciously opened their doors to us from the beginning to use for our community dinners, then our summer lunch program and really anything we bring to them.
We held a Raffle Auction in June for the benefit of Claridon Congregational Church building fund. This money would be used to help restore the almost 200-year-old church.
Due to the ceiling collapse at the church, we had not held our Community Dinner in a year. In June, our Community “Carry Out” Dinner returned. From June through December we served 411 meals.
July - It is said that many are just one paycheck away from being homeless. For this family, the husband was a victim of identity theft. They were tirelessly working with Social Security to get it resolved. It had now been 3 months since he had received his income. With savings depleted, they did not have the means to make their house payment. In July, we were able to provide half of the payment.
August - This past summer gas was $5 a gallon. This family’s adult special needs child needed surgery at a hospital in Cleveland. Mom has many, many health problems. Dad was trying to figure out how he was going to afford the gas to go to and from Cleveland every day while the child was in the hospital. In August we provided a gas card to the family and a hospital over the bed table for when the child came home.
I am not even sure I have mentioned food insecurity for families often enough in this year in review. Throughout the course of 2022 we provided food to families in addition to picking up at the food bank for them a least a half dozen times.
August also found the children going back to school. “Now That’s What I’m Talking About!” Summer Lunch is a Claridon Community Helps program. Over the summer of 2022, we provided 9,438 meals to 226 children in 84 families.
We wrapped up August, preparing and serving food for a funeral luncheon.
September - We are very proud of the fact that we work so well with other organizations in the community. In September, we provided the meatballs for the Red Tulips Spaghetti Dinner Fundraiser.
October -We had a request from Geauga County Department of Aging to assist a senior with a plumbing issue. Unfortunately, we had used up all of our funds and we were unable to assist this senior citizen.
November -To change up the fundraising efforts, we held a Community Scavenger Hunt in November to raise money for our lunch program. We had 18 teams participate and cleared $2890 on the event. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and we already have ideas for items to find on the scavenger hunt next fall!
When a family lives pay check to pay check, a bump in the road is really a huge chuckhole. For this family, they experienced homelessness for 4 months. The single parent was working a seasonal job and playing catch up on past bills. When she was laid off, she applied for unemployment. Unfortunately, the money was not arriving in time for her rent payment and eviction was just 3 days away. In November, we paid her rent to keep the family from being homeless again.
At Lake Catholic High School, Seniors have “Turkey Day” on their last day of school before Thanksgiving. It is a day that they go out and give to the community. I am happy to say that they choose to come out to assist us.
This year 9 students came out to Claridon Congregational Church. Some of them made cookies for the “Cookie Walk” that the Claridon Congregational Church holds. Other students made apple and pumpkin pies for a Claridon Community Helps fundraiser.
December - In December we have a person living in a small home on disability. He/She does not have the income to purchase heating oil for the winter. Working together with United Way, the home will have heat this winter.
I had a classmate contact me asking if Claridon Community Helps was providing anything to children this Christmas. At work they have a swear jar that had collected quite a bit of money throughout the year. I explained to him, for the first year we are not as we used up all our funds. I went on to say that I could find a family that might not fall within the government guidelines that could use a little blessing this Christmas. He asked me to please do that and they were going to double the amount of money to bless two families. I am happy to report that we coordinated a Christmas blessing for not two, but three families.