Volunteers fight opioid epidemic by filling pantries


The worship room at Spanish Evangelical Church is typically filled with seated parishoners, but Tuesday, dozens of volunteers flanked by towers of boxes and cans used the space for an assembly line.

“It’s a multipurpose room, but today it’s a warehouse,” quipped Rolando Rojas, pastor of Spanish Evangelical.

Tuesday evening, volunteers gathered to prepare grocery boxes to be distributed on Saturday at the Covelli Center, where CIRV (Community Initiative to Reduce Violence). Youngstown and NOW Youngstown, in partnership with Dare to Dream, are hosting “Fighting Together.”

The event, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., aims to fight the drug epidemic by providing suppport to local families. In addition to featuring music and games, “Fighting Together” will connect families to social service organizations in the area.

The first 1,500 families who register for the event at the Covelli Center at 11 a.m. will receive the grocery boxes that were assembled Tuesday.

Saturday’s festivities mark the sixth year for the event and the first year that its sponsors will be distributing food. The decision to do so is in direct response to an Aug. 2 report released by the Food Resources & Action Center, which identifies the Youngstown-Warren-Boardman area as the second-highest food insecure area in the nation.

“We asked ourselves, ‘What is the greatest need right now?’” Pastor Rojas stated.

Read MORE in Wednesday's VINDICATOR.

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