Garrettsville – “Elvis has left the building — and he took the food with him!”

This was Nelson Garrettsville Community Cupboard’s lighthearted Facebook post on July 1, 2015. It went on to say, ”All of us at NGCC want to extend heartfelt thanks to Middlefield Bank for the use of the old Tom C Toys [building] and to Greg and Judy Selby for being such great landlords at the old Regency Motors! Fire recovery without them would not have been possible!”

The local food bank’s last day of operations on State Route 88 was June 29, then closed temporarily on July 1 to move back to downtown Garrettsville. They re-opened on July 6, at “our new, and hopefully permanent, location!” as NGCC co-director Michele Elias puts it. The food cupboard’s new address is 10661 Highland Avenue, just behind St. Ambrose Church, alongside New Age Hearing and The Barber of G’ville.

Hours of operation remain the same: Mondays 3pm-6pm, and Wednesdays 9am-12noon. Elias says that the new location in town offers better visibility, easier access for food cupboard clients, and better parking. Soon, a new ramp will afford easier access to the entrance, as well.

NGCC was established in February 2012 in a small garage behind Isaac Mills Bakery in Nelson. By its third anniversary, Nelson-Garrettsville Community Cupboard had tripled in size and had operated from three different locations, having lost everything in the Buckeye Block fire more than a year ago. Regardless, NGCC is still expanding and has returned to downtown Garrettsville before marking its next birthday… that’s four locations in fewer than four years.

Some people would have read all that hardship as a sign to fold up shop and walk away. But Elias says NGCC’s core of 25 volunteers keeps the leadership motivated. “Our volunteers keep this engine running,” she says. “They roll up  their sleeves and stand ready to do whatever needs to be done next. They don’t grumble or complain. So here we are!”

The mission of Nelson Garrettsville Community Cupboard is to provide monthly food assistance to those in need. It serves people of all faiths and races, and is available to all eligible residents living in the James A. Garfield School District. The Cupboard also operates the Weekend SnackPack Program, which provides healthy and easy-to-prepare snack foods to eligible JAG students at no cost.

On average, the NGCC serves 130 families (450-500 individuals) every month. In addition, it distributes about 160 SnackPacks to JAG students monthly each school year.

“It has been a wild ride and we want to say a huge thank you  to all of our volunteers and everyone in the community who has supported us,” says Elias. “Now that we’re back in town, we look forward to putting down roots and not going anywhere.”

Calling themselves “neighbors helping neighbors to ‘Shut the Door on Hunger’ in our community,” NGCC is a 501(c)3 organization and all donations to it are tax deductible. Its mailing address for donations is: PO Box 294, Garrettsville, OH 44231.