BAY VILLAGE, OH (WOIO) - Making fresh, colorful, and healthy food is a routine volunteers at Village Project do weekly. The nonprofit cooks and creates meals to help cancer patients in northeast Ohio.
"Unfortunately, there is a need and, fortunately, we are able to meet that," said Village Project Executive Director Barb Harrell.
Harrell founded the non-profit organization in Sept. 2010. Seven years later, she said they have 600 volunteers serving 20,000 meals to about 200 families. Currently, they serve food on Tuesdays and Thursdays to cancer patients who live in Avon, Avon Lake, Bay Village, Rocky River and Westlake.
"Our goal is to bring hope and joy and encouragement to people and to make them feel like they're never alone, that this is a part of the community," she said.
Harrell got the idea after watching her college roommate fight the disease. Little did she know, several of her loved ones would be diagnosed with cancer too.
"Not only was I the executive director of the wonderful program, but I also became a client," Harrell said.
Heather Ransom understands the non-profit's importance all too well because her mom had cancer.
"My main concerns were that she'd get food that made her feel healthy and strong and as good as possible while she was being treated for cancer," Ransom said.
She said the meals made a difference for her mother. The food is designed to be as healthy as possible and it's mostly organic. "They're free of processed sugar, white flour and red meat," Harrell said.
Ransom was so impressed, she got involved. "When my mom passed, I started to volunteer at the Village Project as a way to heal myself," she said.
For Ransom, working with Village Project is a way to treat herself, while also helping others.
"The real heroes in this are the clients because they're the people that allow us to walk alongside them during some of the most challenging times," Harrell said.
Village Project is holding an event called Nourish Saturday at Hyland in Westlake. It runs from 6 until 10 p.m. Harrell said it's an opportunity for the non-profit to raise money to continue the good work they do. There will be live music and auctions.