Partner with a Shared Vision

Mediaon September 6th, 2017Comments Off on Partner with a Shared Vision

Partner with a Shared Vision

Tucked away in the heart of Wyoming, OH is an unpretentious brown building. In its cool interior is an abundance of useful treasures – food, clothes, toys, pillows, diapers, household appliances, pots and pans, shoes and even purses. This is Valley Interfaith Community Resource Center, an important partner to the Freestore Foodbank. Valley Interfaith provides emergency resources and services that support crisis prevention and sustainability. “Our mission is to try to intercede in the cycle of poverty and transition from just serving as a Band-Aid at the moment of crisis to providing long term assistance,” says John Keuffer, Executive Director.

Partner with a Shared VisionValley Interfaith opened its doors in 1963 when a family knocked on the doors of the Church of the Ascension and Holy Trinity asking for help. Since then, they have grown steadily and currently serve close to 100 households per week. They recently put together an innovative new strategic plan and hired Keuffer. The strategic plan aims at partnering with community resources to help individuals lead stable lives that are sustainable. Keuffer believes that food and clothing form the basis for building stability. “If someone’s hungry they cannot think about long-term plans. If someone’s cold they are not going to be able to engage in a meaningful way,” observes Keuffer. This is where the Freestore Foodbank comes in. “The Freestore Foodbank is a long standing partner. We are grateful for their support. They help us do what we do effectively,” says Keuffer.  Wyoming, OH is a deeply caring and progressive community. The Freestore Foodbank supplements what local grocery stores and bakeries donate on a weekly basis. Private individuals supply items such as clothing, personal hygiene products and household goods.  Valley Interfaith is currently open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm and on Wednesday from 5:00 to 7:00 pm.

Partner with a Shared VisionSimilar to the Freestore Foodbank, Valley Interfaith is focused on developing a continuum of care. Food and clothing are primary resources.  Keuffer finds that providing basic needs in life, like food and clothing, is the first step towards building longstanding relationships with clients. However he tries to complement these basic items with additional care that will break the cycle of poverty. Valley Interfaith plans to implement case management and therapy services in the near future. “Many clients have serious barriers to stability. About 20% of our clients indicate a drug addiction issue and about 30% have mental health issues. And then there are the homeless, the elderly with severe medical issues, etc.” Keuffer adds.  The goal is to be able to address these barriers in order to get to the root cause and take care of the individual as a whole. Many of Valley Interfaith’s clients are local residents. “Folks who live in the suburbs do not want to travel downtown to take advantage of programs. It is a transportation issue and also a familiarity issue. There is a large population that needs help right here,” says Keuffer.

Partner with a Shared VisionThe Freestore Foodbank appreciates its partnership with Valley Interfaith. “The Freestore Foodbank’s CEO is a Wyoming resident and we appreciate the fact that he stops by regularly. He has been very supportive. Freestore Foodbank has also helped us secure additional funding through grants and also by building additional capacity.” Keuffer adds. The Freestore Foodbank greatly appreciates having a trusted and committed partner in Valley Interfaith and we look forward to working together to end hunger.