Acronyms are everywhere in today’s world and sometimes we don’t even know the letters stand for something else! Did you know that LASER stands for ‘light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation’? Or that SCUBA is short for ‘self-contained underwater breathing apparatus’. NASA is an easy one that describes the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Heartland Bank is proud to support a local community organization that also goes by an acronym – GRIN (Gahanna Residents in Need).
GRIN is a faith based, all-volunteer organization formed in 1999 with the support of the Gahanna Ministerial Association (GMA) and Gahanna Rotary. Based at the Mifflin Presbyterian Church, the organization flourished under the leadership of Sally Williams and Reverend Roger Wagner to assist households in need in the Gahanna Jefferson School District. In 2003, GRIN began providing some assistance with utility payments and then in 2012, began discussions with GMA about consolidating the multitude of services being provided in a variety of locations into a single location to serve the whole community.
Answering the call for a community based organization focused on serving local residents, the GRIN board has taken a direct step to expand its capacity to serve by uniting purposes and resources. The unification of these groups will bring together Stonybrook United Methodist Church’s clothing pantry, GRIN’s food pantry and the BRIDGE’s Summer Lunch Club. The combined organization will also incorporate a referral program to other Gahanna resources, such as furniture, financial planning, special needs support and a benefits bank assistance program.
GRIN has been fortunate to have the support of a wide range of community groups and individuals who often run food drives and fund-raisers on behalf of the organization. Faith communities, businesses, schools, and civic/youth organizations have also been major financial supporters and active in the Thanksgiving and Christmas collection programs. Heartland Bank has also been a major contributor through financial donations from its annual holiday silent auction and most recently made donations of cereal boxes through the efforts of Gahanna student Alex Baker.
The Middle School East sixth grader was looking for a community service project to prepare for his August bar mitzvah when he learned that eight out of the eleven schools in Gahanna serve free breakfast to local students each week during the school year, as part of the federal Free and Reduced Lunch program. With the school doors shuttered during the summer, “I wondered what happens when they can’t go to school (and eat) during the summer. I contacted GRIN and learned that cereal is one of the main things they need each summer.”
In addition to a neighborhood collection, the following organizations have supported Alex’s efforts with cereal box drives – Blacklick and High Point Elementary Schools, Middle School East, Stonybrook pre-school, the Gahanna YMCA, Temple Beth Shalom, Yudu Salons and the community bankers at Heartland. Bank employees rallied around the cause during the annual All Employee Meeting on April 23 and proudly added 197 more boxes of cereal to his GRIN collection. According to Board Member Tricia Twigg, Alex Baker’s donation is the largest food drive effort by an individual since the organization was founded in 1999.
The Gahanna community is strong, thanks to the likes of young people like Alex Baker and organizations like GRIN. If you’d like to consider making a cereal box donation to Alex’s project, or a financial donation to the organization, please contact GRIN at 614-471-4491, via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their website at grin4gahanna.org. You can also download the informational brochure and donation form below.