Over the past 6 years, Little Africa has been working in Cleveland and surrounding communities to raise awareness around our solution to food apartheid and related health inequities in our community. We have provided services to families with school-age children including food, health and wellness related educational services, cooking classes, gardening and growing food classes, meditation and writing for mental health therapy, reversing diabetes, Zumba, food cooperative ownership and related classes. We have also provided meal delivery to families with elders, disabled, physically and mentally challenged, and single parents with school age children that do not own transportation or cannot afford or are not physically able to get to the grocery store, food banks or community food giveaways.
We have provided free health and wellness education with our workshops exposing nearly 500 participants to holistic health-focused information both onsite and virtually. Our current social media following is close to 2000 followers. Our first video has received 13,000 views raising our organizational profile across geographies and demographics. We also hosted our first successful Annual Taste of Art Community Festival in the City of East Cleveland in July of 2019. We honored 3 community legends with Lifetime Achievement Community Service Awards and presented our “Top Chef” competition. We also have a growing program where we grow our own food at Village Family Farms in the Hough Community teaching and learning the basics of growing.
As the COVID crisis hit, our VP Mikki Smith called an Emergency Meeting for everyone to develop a community solution to the pandemic. Simultaneously the Feed the Soul project was working with Central Kinsman team to assist with the process. The two ideas came together and created a community collaboration. The collaboration has resulted in us feeding 350 families since late March. This collaboration includes Environmental Health Watch, FreeThinkers87, Project Save, Garden Valley Neighborhood House, and Little Africa Food Cooperative. Our collaborative work has received recognition and aided in the grant award of Little Africa being able to assist more communities outside of the Central Kinsman Feed the Soul Community.
Over the spring and summer of 2020, Little Africa Food Cooperative worked in the following communities: East Cleveland, Clark-Fulton, Hough, Central- Kinsman, Union-Miles, Harvard and other surrounding areas. Initially implemented as an emergency response to meet the unprecedented demand for food assistance during the pandemic, our food delivery and hot meal service expanded to feed over 600 families. We focused on seniors and shut ins and we also reached out to assist single parent households as well.