Kathy Antoniotti

GREEN: Beginning Friday, residents will notice large white boxes marked “Green Gives Back” strategically placed in buildings throughout the city.

The boxes indicate the business, city or school building is a collection site where donations can be placed through Dec. 31 in a city-sponsored effort to stock Green Good Neighbors’ shelves for the holiday season.

Green Good Neighbors has been located for more than 40 years at Greensburg United Methodist Church. It provides food, household items and gently worn clothing to families and individuals in Green and surrounding communities.

“I think we all know there is a need in this area,” said Jeanne Greco, manager of the city’s human resources department.

It was Greco who decided the city should take the lead in a drive to help the nonprofit organization collect nonperishable food and personal and household items in a citywide outreach program.

Each Wednesday, families and individuals are invited to Green Good Neighbors to stretch budgets by stocking up on supplies.

Almost 7 percent of Green households live below the poverty level, said Valerie Wolford, the city’s communications coordinator.

About 25 percent of the school district’s student population is eligible for free or reduced-price lunches, based on family income. Volunteers, concerned that those children won’t have enough to eat through weekends, each Friday fill backpacks with foodstuffs Green Good Neighbors has provided in a program called Blessings in a Backpack.

“Green Good Neighbors serves a lot of families in flux,” Wolford said.

Collection boxes, donated by the Kimble Cos. trash service, will be placed in all city buildings, the Green Branch Library, Akron General Health and Wellness Center, Green YMCA, all Green school buildings and the new Buehler’s grocery store on South Main Street.

Football players from Green High School will help city employees collect donations and deliver them to Green Good Neighbors each week.

The city is asking area businesses to support the drive by challenging customers and employees to participate.

“If a business is rallying its employees to do this, we will facilitate it by picking donations up and delivering them,” Wolford said.

Businesses willing to participate are asked to notify city receptionist Kelly Lavaco at 330-896-5500.

“This food drive is about neighbor helping neighbor in Green,” Mayor Dick Norton said. “We often think Green is immune to poverty and families not having enough food, but the need is real.”

Kathy Antoniotti can be reached at 330-996-3565 or kantoniotti@thebeaconjournal.com.