Parma's Christmas In July Pivots To An Online Campaign
Nothing is quite the same these days. That includes the City of Parma’s annual Christmas in July Food Drive, which will be an online campaign this year from July 1 through July 31 to benefit the Parma Hunger Center. Why the change? A large quantity of food donated is collected during the Independence Day Parade, but this summer due to COVID-19, the July 4 parade was canceled. Several of the locations, such as the Donna Smallwood Activities Center that accept residents’ food donations, have not reopened. Also, many hunger center volunteers, many who are senior citizens, find it easier and healthier to handle food donations purchased through the Greater Cleveland Food Bank.
Dale Kraemer, co-director of the Parma Hunger Center, said the center is appreciative of food donations, but monetary donations, in particular during a pandemic, are more beneficial. Because the center is part of the Hunger Network of Greater Cleveland, it can buy food at discounted prices from the Cleveland Food Bank. “We can actually buy more for less through the Cleveland Food Bank. Plus, we can order exactly what we need when we need it,” Kraemer explained.
Established in 1969, the Parma Hunger Center is an outreach of Parma Lutheran Church, located at 5280 Broadview Road. It is open Tuesdays from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and Fridays from 10 a.m. to noon. Clients should meet income requirements established by the federal government, but proof is not required. Last year, the center served 12,500 individuals. “This is a unique opportunity for all of us to help our neighbors who might be dealing with a job loss, less income and food insecurity,” Mayor Tim DeGeeter said. “Every July, for a number of years, Parma residents donate many bags of food during the parade and at our drop sites. Now it’s even easier to give. No need to grocery shop. Simply make an online donation.”
To make a donation to the Parma Hunger Center, visit www.plcparma.org/donate. Click on the “Donate” button and indicate your dollar donation to the "Hunger Center Program." Next, click on “Continue” to complete the online donation form. Please indicate in the "Notes" section that your donation is for the Christmas in July Food Drive.
If residents prefer not to make an online donation, they may mail a check to the Parma Hunger Center, 5280 Broadview Road, Parma, Ohio 44134. The check should be written to the “Parma Hunger Center.”
For Parma residents who want to register for food assistance, they must ask for Chuck when calling the Parma Hunger Center at 216-351-7828.
Carolyn J. Kovach
Director of Communications, City of Parma, Mayor's Office