As non-profits are having to adapt to new ways of serving the community amid the COVID-19 pandemic, one volunteer is reminding people to not lose a sense of urgency.
Food for the Journey Project is a Dayton-based nonprofit organization established in 2014 that feeds struggling people throughout Dayton’s communities, especially during the pandemic. Since the start of the crisis, the organization has switched from sit down group meals to a bagged meal service, an aspect of the charity work that volunteer Steve Wourms said he misses a lot.
The project has a regular service schedule at multiple locations throughout the week. To follow the next food drive event, volunteer or donate, visit the Food for the Journey Facebook page or website at www.foodforthejourneyproject.org.
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The organization’s founder and Steve’s cousin, Chuck Wourms of Beavercreek Twp., worked for 11 years as the operations director for the Friends of Saint Francis, which runs thrift stores in the area. He then served as the operations director for the House of Bread, a nonprofit community kitchen.
In 2014, Wourms began researching how he could create his own charitable organization.
“I think at one time he (Chuck) was just making PB&J’s and taking them to a prison,” Steve Wourms said. “We can have some difficult people we deal with but he’s just, I guess, loving in a matter of fact way. He’s always quick to reassure. I’m just always telling him, “I don’t know how you do it.’”
With just one year of an age difference, the cousins grew up down the street from one another on Fudge Drive in Beavercreek. “The Wourms on Fudge,” as Steve Wourms put it.
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“We don’t ask for explanations, we give,” Steve Wourms said. “A lot of people, we’ll hear often that this is their first meal of the day.”
As retail stores and restaurants are beginning to open back up, Steve Wourms said people need to keep remembering those struggling.
“Well there’s a lot of people living on the very margin right now,” Steve Wourms said. … “The poverty could get a lot worse. I don’t think we can let our guard down.”
Even if experts have said some communities are in the “peak” of infections and deaths due to coronavirus, Steve Wourms pointed out that means there will still be another “tail end” of the pandemic where people will be in need.
The experience of volunteering with his cousin and the Food for the Journey project has changed his life, Steve Wourms said.
“(Before) I was always suspect of, ‘Well why aren’t you working?’” Steve Wourms said. “I’m getting a lot better understanding of just, wow, there is an awful lot that I don’t understand (about people’s situations) and I thank God that I don’t understand it. I didn’t grow up in poverty and I don’t have an addiction issue. … I’m not going to solve anything on my own but if I can be a little part (of the solution) then that’s pretty cool.”
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