St. Augustine Hunger Center and Parish, located on West 14thStreet in Cleveland’s Tremont neighborhood, is committed to helping the area’s most vulnerable this Easter -- even with the current COVID-19 pandemic.
“There are thousands of people struggling with poverty, and requests for help are greater today than ever before, considering the current conditions,” said Father Joseph McNulty, pastor of St. Augustine Parish.
Each Easter and Thanksgiving holiday the hunger center typically feeds 20,000 people who would otherwise be unable to have a traditional holiday meal. Committed to their mission, this year St. Augustine adapted to the statewide social distancing standards and will be delivering meals to designated areas throughout the city, exterior areas of homeless shelters or outside of homes whose residents called in advance seeking assistance with feeding their family.
“The meal will still be traditional in that we offer and include ham, vegetable sides, salads and dessert,” said Father McNulty. “However, each item will be prepped cold and then pre-packaged for delivery.”
Now in its 46th year, St. Augustine Hunger center usually recruits and depends on hundreds of volunteers to cook, prep and expedite meals. This year, members of the Cleveland Police Department and the TownHall restaurant, located in Cleveland’s historic Ohio City neighborhood, stepped up to assist. The prep work will be done at these locations prior to Easter.
The hunger center is seeking volunteers to drive and deliver the 2,600-plus meals they are planning for. Drivers will not have to interact with individuals. Packaged meals will be ready at 10 a.m. on Easter outside of the hunger center. Volunteers receive an address to drive the meal to and instructions on where to leave the food packages outside. Anticipated end time is noon.
“We need drivers,” said Father McNulty. “Please remember many families are caught in the homeless cycle even with the pandemic going on.” Anyone who can provide assistance with meal delivery is asked to call the St. Augustine Hunger Center at 216-781-5530.