Tallmadge Good Neighbors offers food and clothing for those in need

Laura Freeman
Kent Weeklies
Good Neighbors in Tallmadge is located at 74 Community Road.

TALLMADGE – During the COVID-19 pandemic, residents have stepped up to help their neighbors.

Good Neighbors, 74 Community Road, which distributed food and clothing to needy families, closed mid-March and reopened June 1, said Chairman Candy Lorkowski, who has volunteered for 36 years. It is open Wednesdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for drop-off and pick-up.

“In April and May, gift cards were sent to clients so they would have food,” Lorkowski said.

If anyone called from Tallmadge, they were sent to the Good Neighbors Food Center at 1456 Bingham Path in Akron during the closing, she said.

“We made sure everyone could get food or whatever they needed before we closed,” Lorkowski said.

When they reopened in June, demand was down about a third from normal, she said. Either clients were afraid to come to the pantry or they had found other pantries.

“I haven’t seen new people coming lately,” Lorkowski said. “Other sources are meeting their needs. Churches have programs now where they can take care of people from their congregations.”

Good Neighbors can always use donations of peanut butter, cereal, canned meat and canned fruit, Lorkowski said. With colder weather, Good Neighbors is looking for hats and gloves to add to the clothing items, she said.

If someone needs food or clothing, they can call 211 or 411 and that person will direct them to the Good Neighbors organization for their ZIP code. There are seven units in Summit County, Lorkowski said. One referral, from a church, school or info line is all they need to be placed on the list of recipients.

The federal income guidelines to qualify are $28,727 for one person; $38,893 for two people; $49,059 for three people; and $59,225 for four people.

“They have to update their proofs once a year and we go by the Federal Income Guidelines,” she said. “I’ve sent out 76 letters to get people registered for Thanksgiving and Christmas.”

The Rotary Club had a food drive in September and delivered three truckloads of items, Lorkowski said.

“We are very blessed,” she said. “There was a lot of community involvement and it was great.”

Good Neighbors has relied on gift cards throughout the COVID-19 pandemic..

“We sent gift cards for back-to-school so children could get new shoes,” Lorkowski said. “For Christmas we are asking for gift cards instead of buying specific gifts because of COVID. We’re the only unit to personalize Christmas but it’s too hard to bring in gifts and wrap them.”

In November, the Colony Healthcare Center, 563 Colony Park, will be collecting donations for Good Neighbors.

Other Colony Healthcare Center activities include a Howliday Spook-tacular Pet Parade Oct. 22 at 5:30 p.m. outside the assisted living facility with social distancing to cheer up residents as well as a Free Fall Harvest Market on Oct. 16 for Seniors 55 and older who can drive through the Tallmadge Community Center parking lot, 80 Community Drive, for food and information from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Mulberry Gardens and other organizations are providing vegetables, fruit and recipes for seniors.

Those interested in the Colony Healthcare events should respond sstranger@chs_corp.com

Gannett reporter Laura Freeman can be reached at lfreeman@recordpub.com