Copley Fairlawn Cares Program
The Copley Outreach Center and Copley Fairlawn Cares Program
by Jan Howard
The Copley Outreach Center founded in 1995 by the Copley Methodist Church and Guardian Angels Catholic Church provides emergency food assistance to families in the Copley-Fairlawn School District. The center serves 100 plus families.
The Copley Fairlawn Cares Program was started in September 2019 by community volunteers and Copley Fairlawn School Administration under the Copley Outreach umbrella to provide food to children K-12 attending Copley Fairlawn Schools who are food insecure. The Copley Outreach Center provided an immediate space to get things rolling. One hundred students opted in to the program, so we had to get things organized and ready. We were so exited at how quickly everything fell into place on paper.
The only downfall of starting a program within one month of the idea, was getting everything organized so we could make it happen. We decided to use the upstairs at the Outreach for the Care Program. The upstairs hadn’t been used for a very long time and was a little scary to say the least. The house is old, so it needed a lot of TLC. We just prayed about it and we knew God was all over this program. He would see it through.
Maryann Henry, Director, called in a favor from her husband Wes Henry who runs the Angels in Bluejeans Charity Organization. Here we go, off to the races. He came in and started removing old stuff and repairing and worked tirelessly along with his volunteers to get the upstairs in perfect shape to start the program. They built shelves to store the food and there it was…The Copley Fairlawn Cares Program. The transition was amazing. Wes didn’t stop at the upstairs. He started renovating the entire house, new walls, new floors, lighting, kitchen, bathroom, and many other well needed items that popped up along the way. They truly are Angels in Bluejeans. Again, God was all over this program. Everything was falling into place.
The Copley Fairlawn Cares Program came to be because we received a call from an Administrator the first day of school in August, 2019. She shared with us that she had a student in her office that didn’t have any food at home. We immediately bought a bunch of food and delivered it to her. We knew that if there was one student without food that there were more students without food.
It’s hard to think that we have hungry children right down the street from us. We hear stories about starving children in other countries and we send money and pray for them, but to know we have this down the street is a realization that we aren’t doing enough. We shouldn’t have hungry children in Copley Fairlawn Ohio. I keep saying, this community fell off the food map. Most people think that everything is okay here. It is not. We have the money and resources in our community to take care of every hungry child. It saddens me to know some of our neighbors go to bed hungry or can’t concentrate on their schoolwork or have anxiety because they don’t know if they will have enough food.
We immediately sent out a communication to all families participating in the free and reduced lunch program asking if they wanted to be a part of the weekend care pack program. We received 100 plus return responses asking to be in the program. We were ecstatic. The program was off and running. We were going to reach the students that needed help. We prepared 100 plus care packs and delivered them to each school every other Friday. The care packs included 2 breakfast, 2 lunch, 2 snacks, protein bars, and fruit cups. We occasionally threw in extra stuff like toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo, and soap. We received a lot of positive feedback.
All was moving smoothly, then COVID-19 hit. Schools closed and all the students were at home, so we quickly started a weekly food box program that families could pick up or we would deliver. The school was providing lunches to the students, but we knew that wasn’t enough. We continued to serve the students throughout the school year.
Once School ended, we started the Summer Lunch Box Program. Students can come to the Outreach and pick up a large box of food every week. The Copley Kiwanis are helping us deliver to the families that aren’t able to pick up. We are giving them spaghetti, sauce, rice, soup, protein bars, peanut butter and jelly, cereal, oatmeal, pop tarts, Mac n cheese, apples, chicken, hot dogs, bread, cheese, milk, orange juice….and much more. We also provide them with laundry detergent, soaps, deodorant, and many more items as we receive them.
Lastly, we want to thank the Copley United Methodist Church, Guardian Angels Catholic Church and the community for their outpouring of love and generosity during these challenging times. We have received a lot of monetary and food donations. It has just been so amazing to see everyone pull together and make this happen. We have only just begun to make a difference in the lives of families and kids in our community.
Maryann Henry, Director
Jan Howard, Assistant Director
Copley Outreach Center
1502 S Cleveland-Massillon Road
Copley, Ohio 44321