Hundreds get food, health services, parenting advice at downtown event


Cecelia Hargrove was happy to receive plenty of free food that included muffin mix and cold cereal, but for her, the sweetest aspect was the entire package.

“I felt that I should check it out. It’s truly a blessing to see so many smiling faces and dedicated volunteers who never give up and who help others less fortunate,” the Youngstown woman observed.

She was referring to the variety of food and other offerings that were available during Saturday’s sixth annual food distribution drive at the Covelli Centre, downtown.

The effort also will provide several days’ worth of meals for Hargrove, her grandchildren and other family members while “saving me money that I can use for something else,” a joyful Hargrove added.

She was among the estimated 1,500 individuals and families who took home free boxes or bags of food that also included bags of rolled oats, stuffing mix, kidney beans, pancake mix and rice, cans of soup, pasta sauce and vegetables, boxes of macaroni and cheese, beef pasta and spaghetti and apple juice as part of the three-hour gathering themed “Fighting for Families.”

The effort also was aimed at battling the opioid epidemic, as well as fighting against crime and violence, and included about 20 social organizations and other vendors that provided a slew of services such as information about men’s Bible study mentoring, tips on effective fathering techniques, ways to keep children and teens safe and drug-free and a Christian-based 12-step recovery program and support group to help those struggling with drugs and alcohol as well as anger, grief, resentment, anxiety, stress, divorce and co-dependency.

Also available were prayer tents, live music, dental-care and mammography vehicles, opportunities to register to vote and games and activities for kids.

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