Cuyahoga Falls -- With the arrival of August, kids are just a couple weeks away from returning to school. This time of year can be hectic for any parent, which creates an opportunity for a generous nonprofit organization.
Good Neighbors in Cuyahoga Falls, and other locations in the Summit County area, are making sure there are no families left behind. The drive to provide food, school supplies, clothes and more to families in need took place at Good Neighbors' Second Street location Aug. 2 through 4.
"Good Neighbors creates a way to provide necessities for those who are in need, but don't have the money to purchase those things themselves," said Kim Gaug, Chairperson of Good Neighbors in Cuyahoga Falls. "Helping others is something that goes a long way."
With eight separate units in Summit County, Good Neighbors continues to help families across Northeast Ohio prepare for the upcoming school year and more.
"I absolutely think this is something that needs to be done in more places around the country," Gaug said. "We have 154 families scheduled for our school drive this year, which is close to 600 kids."
The organization relies on donations and financial contributions from individuals, churches, civic and social organizations, businesses and foundations to assist them in serving families.
"We have reached our goal through the donations that people give us," Gaug said. "We had a teacher that retired last year and he ended up donating school supplies for the next three years."
According to Bill Fishel, a volunteer at Good Neighbors since 1996 and Cuyahoga Falls native since 1944, Good Neighbors receives a couple thousand pounds of food per week, most of which comes through donations.
Fishel mentioned that Panera Bread supplies leftover bread every day and it's given out to families in need within an hour after Good Neighbors receives it.
"I've been here all my life so it's a pleasure to help others in the community," Fishel said. "It brings a smile to their face and mine."
About Good Neighbors
Good Neighbors was formed in 1957. On June 6, 1978, the Cuyahoga Falls unit was officially opened with the assistance of the Pilgrim United Church of Christ and Cuyahoga Falls Baptist Church.
Cuyahoga Falls Good Neighbors serves residents in Cuyahoga Falls, Silver Lake, Stow, Munroe Falls, Hudson and Peninsula.
The church stood as the main location until the organization moved to an unoccupied Sill Middle School building in 2007. In 2014, generous donors in the community provided the necessary funds to purchase a building at 1742 Second St. in Cuyahoga Falls.
After renovating and reopening, the Cuyahoga Falls branch of Good Neighbors finally had enough room to supply food, clothing, shoes and small household items to families in need.
Good Neighbors requires those they serve to obtain a referral in order to receive their services. However, they won't turn their backs on those without referrals. If someone comes to any unit without a referral, Good Neighbors will provide them with the needed provisions and ask that they get a referral for future assistance.
Monetary donations can be sent to: Cuyahoga Falls Good Neighbors, P.O. Box 233 Cuyahoga Falls, OH 44222.