When the holidays end, hunger doesn’t just go away.
Well-Help is busiest in November and December as its volunteers collect food for needy area families. From its office inside of First United Methodist Church on South Main Street, the organization provides groceries for around 475 people per month, said office coordinator Bernie Raab.
“This time of year we do pretty well because everyone is in the giving mood,” said Raab. “Where we really get low and slow is summertime. People just don’t remember we’re here year ‘round. Times are hard on everybody. Then when the schools start up the different organizations within the school take up collections too.”
The organization was founded more than 50 years ago in the building now occupied by King Realty in Wellington and moved to its current home about 25 years ago, Raab said.
It received IRS tax exempt status as a nonprofit in 1991 and brings in roughly $280,000 annually, mostly through donations.
Last year, 5,531 people were served by Well-Help, a slight decrease from 6,050 in 2014.
Holiday food distributions are held before Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Most recently, volunteers gathered Dec. 15 to put together food packages.
“Well Help started out as being just about mental health,” she said. “It was just called ‘Help.’ People started coming in and asking for food so then they started just bringing in food and giving some out. The food part started to grow more and more and here we are now.”
The Wellington fire department donated $2,000 to Well-Help through proceeds from its chili cook-off in November. About 30 donors form the bulk of annual proceeds, Raab said.
In Lorain County, the U.S. Department of Agriculture deemed 45,000 people “food insecure” in 2013, meaning a lack of regular access to enough food for monetary reasons. That number makes up about 15 percent of Lorain County’s population, closely aligning with national numbers of 48.1 million (14 percent of the U.S. population).
Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.
Courtesy photo Well-Help president Mo Furcron and office coordinator Bernie Raab work tirelessly to help put food in the hands and stomachs of hungry families.