Parma resident holds successful ‘Can COVID Food Drive’ from driveway
PARMA, Ohio -- While out on Monday (Sept. 28) engaging with his Ward 3 constituents in Parma, District 15 State Rep. Jeff Crossman came across Velma Avenue resident Kimmie DiBenedetto’s impromptu fundraiser.
“I was curious about the table she set up at the end of her driveway,” Crossman said. "She came out to say, ‘Hello,’ and told me she just wanted to help people and pets in Parma by doing her own collection of food that she plans to donate.
“I think it’s great to highlight members of our community that want to step up and take initiative to help others. She cares about her community and is taking the time to help others, which is always worthy of recognition.”
That recognition included Crossman sharing DiBenedetto’s effort on social media, which led to an outpouring of community support.
“I’m doing what I called with my ‘Can COVID Food Drive’ for the local food shelters,” said Steubenville native DiBenedetto, who has called Parma home for four years.
“I’m also taking raising money for the Parma Animal Shelter, because during a pandemic or hard times sometimes animals are the first things that families struggle feeding,”
Initially ‘Can COVID Food Drive’ was only planned for a day; however, DiBenedetto said city officials convinced her to stretch the effort into Tuesday.
“What happened is local State Rep Jeff Crossman noticed it,” DiBenedetto said. "When I saw him out I thought he was trying to sell me something. Then he shared it on social media and it spread like wildfire.
“The donations have been flowing in by the box. It’s absolutely insane. The community is getting involved. I also made treat bags to hand out as a way to say thanks to people who donated.”
Advertised on Facebook for a couple of weeks, “Can COVID Food Drive” on Monday resulted in modest donations, mostly from DiBenedetto’s friends and family. However, by the end of Tuesday, the fundraiser brought in more than $1,250 in cash donations and enough canned goods to fill up more than half of her large garage.
Someone stopping by DiBenedetto’s home on Tuesday was Parma Mayor Tim DeGeeter, who made a $20 donation to the fundraising effort.
“I want to applaud Parma Ward 3 resident and homeowner Kimmie for helping others and our animal shelter,” DeGeeter said. "Through State Rep. Crossman and Councilman Mark Casselberry, we were made aware of her helping others.
“Like the both of them, I wanted to contribute. I also thanked her for being a great resident.”
It turns out DiBenedetto is no stranger to canned food drives. She normally holds one around her November birthday. Feeling blessed to be working retail during the pandemic, the benevolent resident decided to hold the “Can COVID Food Drive.”
“I think if you can give back during this time do it,” DiBenedetto said. "I also believe this world needs a little bit of love. I think most people at the end of the day are good and the world needs to see that.
“When people see others donating, it kind of catches fire. So pay it forward if you can. If you can do a good thing, then do it.”
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