The M. C. Chatman Center for Humanitarian Services Helping Hands is a interfaith effort of community members committed to serving the hungry and those in need in order to promote their welfare dignity and self sufficiency. It is rooted in the belief that sound nutrition is the first step in enabling people to cope and become productive, self-sufficient members of society.There is no easy way to eliminate hunger in the world or in our neighborhoods. None of us alone can do it alone. But we are all part of the solution. We feed the hungry and assist in our humble way to keep families together by providing them nourishment, clothing and education. We provide a safe, clean, uplifting environment for guests in need of food and fellowship. We provide assistance to anyone who walks through our doors, no paperwork, no questions and no fear of embarrassment.
Clothing is donated every month for some individuals. During our Helping Hands time residents are able to get a hot meal, receive a bag of non-perishable food items and can choose one to three items of clothing as needed. As stated previously, 4 percent of the residents in the Garden Valley area are children living in poverty with a 52 percent unemployment rate. When we think of hunger, our mind naturally envisions impoverished children living in other parts of the world. It is difficult for many of us to consider that hunger exists right here in our own backyard. We operate under the philosophical belief that all human beings are created equally. Men, women, and children of all races, religions, ethnic backgrounds and socioeconomic levels deserve to have their basic human needs met. All human beings should have access to food, shelter, and clothing.
Many circumstances has cause many famalies to have the need for assistance, some of which will have life altering and life interrupting consequences. So it is with our Hot Meals that we reach out to the community and help those who need us. We have families who have experienced death, job loss, serious illness, abandonment and other life events that have put them in situations where the ability to provide regular, healthful and nutritious meals for their children is next to impossible.
Our approach to building community has several facets, but at its core it is still about serving nutritious meals to vulnerable people, while continually engaging with our guests to create opportunities for them to become more stable and more secure in terms of their basic needs for food and shelter. Each month the Center serves a hot meal, opens the food pantry and clothing donations rooms. Food is purchased from the Cleveland Food Bank along with some donations from the congregation. While the purpose of Helping Hands is to provide a nutritious meal, they are also an important entry point to services for individuals and families who are homeless or living in poverty.
Today, more than 49 million Americans one in every six face food insecurity. Hunger affects families across the country in urban, rural and suburban communities. Barriers of access and affordability prevent low income families from purchasing the nutritious food necessary for a healthy lifestyle. Children are particularly vulnerable to food insecurity, which can have long-term negative impacts on their health, education and social well being.
The MC Chatman Helping Hands Program includes a food pantry and clothing donation. The program serves the Garden Valley neighborhood in the Kinsman Statistical Planning Area. Our community is 96.5 percent African American and 40 percent of the community is comprised of children under the age of 18. Currently the program has been offering food staples and a hot meal one day per month. Our supply is often miniroal so we are only able to serve 150-200 residents. It breaks our heart to turn people away when the food runs out.
For 2017, we are working to serve more families, more often. We are still waiting for approval to be a Cleveland Food Bank Agency Member and we are applying for funds to supplement that from the Cleveland United Black Fund. The grant will help pay for food from the Cleveland Food Bank and buy needed supplies for the program. With this support we can serve 250-300 families each month.
'For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.'
We have as a continuous goal, to provide support, share experiences and supply information to parents, affected children and their siblings. We choose to focus on the individual child and the challenges they may face. We emphasize their abilities, not their disabilities. For years we have helped families of regional services and resources that are available, but we do not endorse any specific institution or medical treatment. One of our priorities is to reach parents of the Garden Valley area who desire our help. New parents can be given hope and encouragement through our extended network of parents.
If you are a parent, professional or interested person and want to learn more about Helping Hands Foundation, Inc.
Please feel free to contact us with any questions, concerns or comments about our group and its mission.