Among the noise and excitement of community members waiting to receive fresh, free produce from the St. Paul’s Episcopal Church Free Farmers’ Market is a quiet volunteer named Tim. One by one, Tim removes empty boxes from the crowded room and takes them outside to be recycled.
St. Paul’s Episcopal Church is a member agency of the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank. On this day, the church received fresh carrots, onions, potatoes and bananas along with other grocery items from the Foodbank to distribute to those struggling with hunger in Medina County.
Tim first came to the Free Farmers’ Market to receive food, and it didn’t take long for him to realize the importance of giving back to the place that helps him feed his family. An ankle injury has prevented Tim from gaining employment since February. "I’ve been a mechanic since I was 16,” Tim stated. “With this plate and five screws in my shattered ankle, I just couldn’t work."
Currently, Tim is volunteering and collecting nutritious food for his fiancé Stacy, who is a truck driver in the Army Reserve, and her three children—Vanessa, CJ and Elijah. "Those are my kids, too, even though not by blood," said Tim, adding that his children need the right kinds of food because two of them are autistic.
In spite of the hardships in Tim’s life, he still lives with a positive outlook. "I try to explain to my kids about helping people, volunteering, and that people out there have it worse than us."
When asked what his plans are for the future, Tim mentioned two things. "Well, today, this food means I might get to put gas in my car to go see my dad who has only six months to live. He has colon cancer, and doesn’t want to do chemo. And on Monday, thanks to a friend at this church, I have an interview at a golf course."
St. Paul’s Episcopal Church is giving out more than food to people. They are giving a sense of community, a sense of hope, and are creating a place for people to get back up on their feet—even if one of those feet supports a shattered ankle.