ASHTABULA — People started lining up more than an hour and a half before the doors to St. Peter’s Episcopal Church opened at 5:30 p.m. Friday to provide 350 families with food for Christmas.

“We have prepared a meal that will feed

six individuals,” church food bank coordinator Julie Clayman said

as volunteers prepared for the onslaught of people.

With the event now

in its third year,

organizers have fine-tuned the distribution. 

“This is very organized,” said Judy Davis as she wondered through the food selection area.

Davis said she appreciates the generosity and kindness of the food pantry workers that help people make ends meet every month. 

“This is the first time I have gone to a food bank and I don’t feel embarrassed,” Davis said, adding everybody has tough times “and this is mine.”

Hazel Phillips, a church member, handed out food. 

“I love God and

I love the people and Father Peter (Nielsen) III,” she said of

the newly installed rector.

Lakeside freshman Destiny Kruczewski handed coffee to people winding their way through a series of tables that each had Christmas meal ingredients.

“I just love how everyone is so kind,” she said.

Chuck Brockway, a church official and program volunteer, said Giant Eagle has been a major partner in each of the event’s three years. 

Regular monthly clients of the food bank were all given a coupon for the event. 

“We work hard

and care about our community,” Clayman said.

Hunger is bad in the community, she said, as food needs have not slowed in three years and might be increasing.

“This Christmas giving is something we take pride in,” Clayman said. 

She said the church has a big building but consists of only 40 to 50 families.

Nielsen III said the food giveaway “is our ministry.”

“The Episcopal Church has realized we have to re-energize Christianity in the community,” he said.

Recommended for you