Heights volunteers support food pantry and clothing bank
Community members were recognized in April, National Volunteer Month, for their work at the Father Michael Wittman Ozanam Center (FMWOC), a food pantry and clothing bank located in East Cleveland that serves surrounding communities, including Cleveland Heights.
FMWOC volunteers represent 14 different churches, including Communion of Saints Parish and Church of the Saviour in Cleveland Heights. Weekly operations are conducted by the all-volunteer staff
Thanks to the ongoing efforts of the dedicated volunteers who donate their time, services, and resources, FMWOC is able to provide assistance to those in need.
Last year, 250 volunteers donated more than 4,000 service hours, to operate the center every Saturday, rain or shine, from 10 a.m. to noon. Volunteers include retired adults, young professionals, and students; all share a common desire to be a force of good for a cause they care about.
Other community members lend their talents in other ways to support the organization. Knitting groups donate their time to make hats and scarves that they give to those in need.
Church of the Saviour volunteer Pete Evangelista works with incarcerated individuals at Trumbull Correctional Institution, through Kairos Prison Ministry, where they knit hats on looms, then donate the hats to the clothing bank.
“Our goal is to inspire individuals to find purpose through providing a service to someone else,” said Evangelista. “It becomes a full-circle transformation—the power of helping ourselves while helping others.”
Donated items include clothing, food, toiletries, and funds which are used to purchase food from the Greater Cleveland Food Bank. During the past year, FWWOC distributed 3,000 bags of groceries and more than 10,000 clothing items to 4,200 people.
Carol Iott, a Cleveland Heights resident for 16 years is an arts consultant, a board member for the Father Michael Wittman Ozanam Center, and a member of Communion of Saints Parish.