Outreach through Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church
Our Food Pantry and Clothing Closet

Zion's Food Pantry: Working to combat hunger.

Zion Lutheran Church houses one of Stark County Hunger Task Force's food pantries. The pantry at Zion Lutheran Church of North Canton is a shared project with Stark County Hunger Task Force and the generosity of Zion's members. Being a member of Stark County Hunger Task Force enables Zion to be their official representative in the fight against hunger in North Canton.

Zion's pantry is a very unique food pantry. It is operated by two moms with the central driving theme being, "If we wouldn't eat it, don't expect someone else to." The food is purchased from the Akron/Canton Food Bank with a modest sum given by the Stark County Hunger Task Force, which is supplemented by food drives and Zion's members and friends.

Why North Canton? The first response from the general public is disbelief that there is hunger in North Canton. To the contrary, we see hunger every Tuesday, represented in all different walks of life. Hunger does not differentiate the color of your skin, whether you are young, old, married, single or even a child. With the continual layoffs in North Canton and surrounding localities, it is now even more imperative that area institutions, which our local residents frequent, become aware that help is out there.

Doors are open to all North Canton residents. Proof of income along with proof of residence is all that is needed to qualify. The clients are treated with respect, confidentiality and caring. We not only hand out food for the body, but love for the soul.

How can you help?
Volunteer your time. Make a cash donation. Organize a food drive. Call the Church Office at Zion Lutheran Church (330-499-3909), and ask to speak with Shirley Cavender or Margaret Porter, our "two moms" who are helping to organize our efforts in responding to the changing face of poverty in our community.

Zion's Clothing Closet: Growing in Grace

"Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience." (Colossians 3:12)

The Clothing Closet has been in operation for over two and a half years and it has been a great help to persons in need. For those who come to Zion on Tuesday to make use of our Food Pantry, our clothing room is a source of getting a new outfit for themselves and a lot of the clothing is for the children.

There are always items needed to help persons less fortunate than ourselves. The items that we are asking for now are new (or gently worn) winter items: coats, hats, gloves, scarves, sweaters, sweatshirts, anything that is warm. We will never turn away bedding items, baby items, or household items. If you would like to donate please bring items to the church and we will be sure that these items are put to use.

The Clothing Closet is not just for clothing donation. We refurbish toys, and make household items available, too. With the kind and generous donations that have been received by members and friends, we have been able to help over one hundred families.

The Clothing Closet will now be on a season to season basis. That means that the clothing items that are donated will have to be for that particular season. The need for baby items has become more prevalent.

The harsh reality is that the overwhelming need for assistance is no longer in the poverty stricken neighborhoods of Canton. We are experiencing this need right in our own area. Unemployment and layoffs have taken an enormous toll on everyone. With help from our members and friends, this outreach program has lifted the spirits of many who seek assistance.

The people who come are very appreciative of all the items they receive. With compassion, caring, and sharing this outreach program has been a spectacular success. Thank you to all who have donated and who have supported this outreach ministry. Without you this would not have been possible. If you are interested in helping with the Clothing Closet or have any questions about what items can be donated, contact Karen Kirk through the Church Office, 330-499-3909.

"As each has received a gift, employ it for one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace." (1 Peter 4:10)