REYNOLDSBURG, Ohio — It’s Thursday. At Mid-Ohio Market at HEART in Reynoldsburg that means long lines.
Long lines filled with cars. Cars filled people. People filled with the undeniable burden of asking for help.
Executive Director Cheryl Wooten has been there. She knows it’s one small difference that can lead anyone to this line. The pandemic. The economy. Being displaced. A lifestyle change.
She’s been there.
And, the last three years, she’s seen it. From every week regulars to first-timers.
“People are stuck,” she said. “’I’ve never been in this situation’, ‘I don’t know what to do’. Great. Let us help you.”
Through a partnership with the Mid-Ohio Food Collective and other local partnerships, along with food drives and volunteers, the shelves stay stocked. It’s impressive considering a massive uptick in demand.
“This is, at the heart,” Wooten began. “I can’t look a parent in the eye and not feel their pain when they’re scared there’s nothing to put on the table.”
Three years ago the Market served 600 families a week. In 2023, it serves 1,500 families a week and more than 7,000 mouths a month. And, food is not all the market offers.
“We are adamant about trying to give resources that will help people do just that,” she said.
Wooten says there’s a strong emphasis on building up families. The Market gives resources for jobs, counseling, housing and financial literacy.
“Lots of things that we can put in place for sustainability above and beyond nutrition,” Wooten said. “It’s a sustainability of a home.”
Wooten says the Market has been in talks the last few years to move its operation to a bigger, more spacious location. She hopes to break ground and be moved in to that new location by the end of 2023.