A shining example of UBF’s goal to take ownership of the conditions in the community and work toward its improvement is the Our Family Home Center in East Cleveland. The founder and director, Clifford Williams, often pays out of his own pocket when donated goods are not available.
The community center was founded in 2004 to provide food for neighborhood kids, and a safe place for them to go after school for activities and help with academics. A hot meals program for families is offered on Thursdays, as well as a legendary Goodie Bag program for kids. For the Goodie Bags, they set out 14 boxes with different items including juices, noodles, oatmeal, cereal and snack packs. Each kid gets a blue bag (formerly donated, but now have to be purchased) and picks an item from each box. Only one of the boxes contains candy or treats. The kids take the Goodie Bags home to help supplement their families’ food supply.
The program and Cliff Williams were recognized with the 2012 Ohio AARP Andrus Award for community service. Additionally, they received the 2015 Medical Mutual Senior Advisory Council Award for exemplary volunteer service. That kind of validation has helped Our Family Home receive new sources of funding, including grants from UBF.
“The funding we receive from UBF has enabled us to expand our hot meals program, to purchase food if it’s not available at the food bank, and to purchase supplies for the kids’ arts and crafts projects,” states Our Family Home Executive Director Cliff Williams. “We also use some of the money for bus passes for our 12th graders who need to get to various schools and medical appointments.”