About Garden Valley Neighborhood House
Founded in 1918, Garden Valley Neighborhood House is an all-volunteer-run nonprofit located in Cleveland, Ohio. They provide social services to the Woodland-Garden Valley neighborhoods in Cleveland, a neighborhood that has among the highest poverty indicators within the city.
Garden Valley’s main program is their food pantry, serving those in need in the community. Through their food pantry, they provide food to 11,000 - 15,000 families, students, low-income residents, veterans, and homebound seniors monthly, and is the largest food pantry in Ohio. They also provide essential items and hygiene products throughout the year to those in need, along with clothing and toys for children during their annual Giving Day.
“Through engagement, residents are not only transforming their own lives, but also
continuing the transformative work of a Center whose core mission is strengthened when others are helped when they help themselves. We believe that hunger relief is not just about a hand out but, more importantly, our work is about a hand up.” - Garden Valley
Beyond The Food Pantry - A Focus on Arts, Education & Health
In addition to its core mission of providing hunger relief, Garden Valley offers many programs to encourage community engagement, self-empowerment, self-sufficiency, and quality of life for people in the neighborhood. They offer skills-based employment training in food service, construction, sewing, GED prep, and mentorship programs. They also provide health and nutrition classes, cooking classes, and dance classes, along with offering youth summer and winter camp opportunities.
Arts is an important pillar in their mission, and Garden Valley says, “Every day we touch the lives of many who have been unable to find help in other places, and we recognize that the arts must be a necessary component of our work to assist the whole person.” Their children’s choir, Voices in the Valley, provides youth with opportunities to develop teamwork and cooperation skills, build confidence, and provide unique opportunities for the community’s youth. The Choir has performed in Washington D.C. at the National Youth Anti-Violence March and other community events.
The Woodland-Garden Valley neighborhoods of Cleveland have among the highest new HIV/AIDS diagnoses in the city. Garden Valley’s HIV/AIDS initiative provides education, testing, and connections to HIV/AIDS medical care, while also advocating at the state and national level to expand the efforts of their critical initiative.
Garden Valley’s arts and theater initiatives provide local playwrights with mentorship and the ability to host a play about mental illness, drug addiction, and other relevant urban issues the community is facing as a way to provide education to the community about these topics. Garden Valley also provides senior programing to ease isolation and improve the quality of life for the community’s seniors. They offer a Senior Club with arts and crafts, hot meals, bible study, nutrition education, and outings along with offering a senior choir.
The Impact of Going Solar
By going solar with RE-volv, Garden Valley will be able to save 15% on their electricity bills each month, savings they can put back into their community-serving programs and mission.
Community Support for Solar for Garden Valley
RE-volv partnered with the Sierra Club’s Ready for 100 Campaign to help bring solar to Garden Valley Neighborhood House. Sierra Club’s Ready for 100 Campaign is a volunteer-driven campaign to get cities and communities to commit to being powered by 100% renewable energy. The Cleveland Ready for 100 campaign worked with the City of Cleveland and local stakeholders, which resulted in the City of Cleveland being the first city in the state to commit to 100% clean, renewable electricity by 2050.
Through the efforts of the Cleveland Ready for 100 campaign, community partners identified Garden Valley as a pilot project to serve as a model for other small, community nonprofits in Cleveland to learn about their experience going solar, to help other nonprofits in their transition to solar energy.