In November, Central Tremont invited other block clubs to engage in a "friendly competition" to see which group could bring in the most donations in the annual Tremont, Duck Island and Irishtown Bend Holiday Food Drive – of nonperishable food items, paper products and cash/check donations. The ultimate goal is to help food pantries, like St. Augustine, Pilgrim Congregational, St. John Cantius, St. Michael the Archangel, Westside Catholic Center, St. Malachi and Greater Cleveland Food Bank to feed our Duck Island, Irishtown Bend and Tremont families and children in need in the holiday season. Eight block clubs took them up on the challenge for 2017: Auburn-Lincoln Park, Duck Island, Holmden-Buhrer-Rowley & Mentor-Castle-Clark, Irishtown Bend, Metro North, North of Literary, and South of Jefferson. This year has featured the most participating block clubs (9) and joined by the Tremont West staff - our teams collected lots of canned goods, paper products and check/cash donations  - the equivalent of 27,197 items (or $10,275 in cash/checks and 2,281 food items)! For the purposes of this year’s competition, which brought in way more check donations than ever before, each dollar donated by check/cash was considered equivalent to two items (for example a $50 check donation was considered to be 100 items of canned goods). This increase from three years ago (where $1 = 1 item) is based on feedback that the food pantries can often purchase items at a better rate than is available to the public through retail groceries). Nonetheless, even with this change which helped the numbers - still way more checks/cash were donated this year!

  Donations have been taken to the food pantries in mid-December before Christmas. Late December/early January donations will be delivered in the next week to help re-stock for the new year ahead.

  So now - drumroll please - we are announcing the "reigning champs" block club – based on the number of total items and checks /cash donated through January 13th. This block club will have "bragging rights" in the competition for the coming year – until next year’s Holiday Food Drive! Well, here are the final standings for the block club donations in the friendly competition of the Holiday Food Drive 2016/2017:

The chart below compares this year to last year.  These are the final totals and reflect food items and cash/check donations contributed through the Food Drive deadline of January 11th, 2018.

   (Or $10,275 in cash/checks, $4,386 (value of vehicle donated to St. Augustine Hunger Center by Central Tremont block club) and 2,281 food items *Note that for 2017/2018 each $1 of cash/checks counts as 2 items).

  Congratulations to Central Tremont Block Club, champions now for the second year in a row. Awesome, job Central Tremont!! In an annual Drive first, a member of Central Tremont donated a vehicle to the St. Augustine Hunger Center listed in the Donor Acknowledgment Letter from St. Augustine with a value of $4,366. Many thanks!

  Central Tremont did experience stiff competition this year - and all the block clubs can be proud of their efforts and the generosity of their memberships.

Top three food donations by block clubs:
·    Duck Island (920 items)
·    South of Jefferson (495 items)
·    Metro North (420 items)

Top three cash/check donations by block clubs:
·    Auburn-Lincoln Park ($2,000)
·    South of Jefferson ($2,000)
·    North of Literary ($1,640)

  Everyone's numbers were great - but a shout out to Metro North (in their first year with the Food Drive they collected donations of $1,330 in cash/checks and 420 food items) and to Duck Island (2nd smallest block club in geographic size and number of residents, who partnered this year with Jay Demegall and the Forest City Brewery, along with the Cleveland Browns Parade to lead in total food donations [920] and cash/check donations of $1,070). Also Notable:  Irishtown Bend (the smallest block club in geographic size and number of residents) in its second year coming in with 1,630 items (a great outpouring from their membership and a 151.2% change from 2016/2017) - and to South of Jefferson (186.1% change) and Auburn-Lincoln Park (110.9% change) from last year. Congratulations! Great job done by all the block club memberships and staff!
Most important of all is the goal: lending a helping hand to neighbors - families and children - in need in Tremont, Duck Island, and Irishtown Bend - and providing help to support the outstanding work of six Near West side food pantries-ministries - St. Augustine Parish Hunger Center, Pilgrim Congregational Church Food Pantry, St. John Cantius Parish Food Pantry, St. Michael the Archangel Parish Food Pantry, Westside Catholic Center, and St. Malachi Parish Back Door Ministry, along with the Greater Cleveland Food Bank - who get nutritious food to children and families all year long!

  Many thanks to the Block Club Food Drive Coordinators for all their time, efforts, marketing, and encouragement of their memberships:

Auburn - Lincoln Park:   Denise Kadilak and Patti Choby
Central Tremont:   Lynne Nowel and Julie Goulis
Duck Island:  Cheryl May, Karen Weaver, Carol Snowden, and Jay Demegall
Holmden-Buhrer-Rowley & Mentor-Castle-Clark:  Angelica Pozo
Irishtown Bend:   Marcy VanderTuig
Metro North: Mary Ann Balog
North of Literary:   Leslie Selig
South of Jefferson:  Rachel Coolidge, Kate Carden, and Tom Tosuksri
Tremont West staff:  Dharma Valentin and Scott Rosenstein

  And many thanks to all of you for your incredible kindness and generosity to the food pantries and to our Duck Island, Irishtown Bend and Tremont neighbors in need! We look forward to your continued support and generosity in 2018!