On Feb. 13 County Executive Ilene Shapiro, County Council President John N. Schmidt and Governmental Affairs Representative for FirstEnergy Corp. Renee Nied presented two checks totaling $10,000 to Terri Heckman, CEO of the Battered Women's Shelter.

The assistance is in response to the shelter's request to community groups to help supply lunch and dinner for residents during the transition period before their new commercial size kitchen is operational.

The kitchen is expected to be open by mid-June.

The County's donation will be sent to United Disability Services whose Taste Buds catering service will prepare food for the shelters residents.

Taste Buds currently employs six people with disabilities, and is a collaboration between United Disability Services and Summit County Children Services.

Taste Buds operates the employee cafeteria at CSB as well as operating its own box lunch catering business for area businesses and organizations.

Taste Buds employees will be helping to prepare sandwiches for lunch and hot entrees for dinner for 90-120 residents until the shelter's kitchen is completed.

The program will be supplementing the community calendar to provide meals for the shelter during this time whenever needed.

$5,000 will provide approximately 3,700 lunches or 2,250 dinners. Taste Buds employees will be performing food preparation, sandwich assembly, pizza assembly, cooking and packaging.

"Terri Heckman and the entire staff work diligently to provide a safe haven to our women and children in crisis," Shapiro said in a release from the county. "We are proud to support the Battered Women's Shelter and applaud their good work."

The FirstEnergy Foundation is funded solely by FirstEnergy Corp. and provides support to non-profit, tax-exempt health and human services agencies; educational organizations; cultural and arts programs and institutions; and civic groups in areas served by FirstEnergy's 10 electric operating companies and in areas where the company conducts business.

"We're pleased to support the important work of the Battered Women's Shelter, particularly as they move to their new facility," said Dee Lowery, President of the FirstEnergy Foundation. "We are so proud of their work in our community to help those who are in need during difficult times."

"The Battered Women's Shelter provides crucial support and assistance to those in our community who desperately need it," said Summit County Council President John Schmidt. "In their time of need we should work together as partners and lend a hand the best we can."

The shelter is seeking donations from others in the community, including citizens, groups, businesses, clubs, schools and churches to help supply food during the transition period until the kitchen is completed. Contact Kathy Bean (330-860-5627), Melissa Hamlin (330-860-5624), or Terri Heckman (330-777-4717) at the shelter.