Cleveland: All Faiths Pantry feeds 'greatest generation'

1:33 PM, Sep 29, 2010   |    comments
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John Visnauskas and 20 teams of 50 volunteers visit the homes and apartments of 350 West Side seniors every month, delivering food from his All Faiths Food Pantry.

They are meeting a growing need.

"People who are not being served by other emergency food programs," Visnauskas explains. "Seniors most especially, and low-mobility people. They need food as well."

The All Faiths Pantry, run out of a small, rented location, serves people whom Visnauskas considers part of the "greatest generation," people who were always first in giving to others and never asked for anything themselves.

"A lot of times they think if they take food they are depriving someone else of food," Visnauskas told WKYC, "and we're always assuring our clients that their taking food isn't depriving anyone else of food."

The pantry acquires food from the Cleveland Food Bank and makes regular monthly visits to hundreds of seniors scattered across the west side and in the nearby western surburbs.

Pat Dolbow looks forward to the deliveries.

"It helped me a lot because I have a hard time even going shopping anymore," the cheerful woman, who has had hip replacements and can hardly climb the stairs to her second floor home, says. "And they give you a lot of good things."

David Fedorka likes the friendship offered by volunteers Bryan Maday and Kelly Haley.

"We talk about a lot of things," says Fedorka, who shares an easy smile with his visitors. "Plus what I like is they're punctual, the food is outstanding, and you can't go wrong."

Visnauskas says he is not duplicating other neighborhood food pantries. All Faiths Pantry is meant for those who cannot get out to pick up what they need. It delivers three tons of food per month.

"We not trying to become a giant program," he says. "We're trying to be a model for other people who want to start a program like us."

All Faiths Pantry will be holding a fund raising benefit program on Sunday, October 17 at the Beachland Ballroom. A number of well known local musicians and their groups will be performing.


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