Armstrong, Breaking Bread

Giving Back is Business’ Responsibility, Armstrong Says of Breaking Bread Day

NORTH LIMA, Ohio — For Boardman Township resident David Wilson, ensuring people have access to food is a calling.

On Tuesday morning, he took a bag of non-perishables to Armstrong’s office in North Lima for Breaking Bread Day.

“I’m very passionate about feeding hungry people,” he said. In fact, one of the reasons Wilson retired from his maintenance position with Boardman Township after 33 years was to help people in need.

He volunteers at God’s Warehouse Inc., a nonprofit housed inside New Life Church in Poland. “I’ve seen the need. I’ve talked with the people one on one.”

Wilson is also an Armstrong legend, as he was the first Boardman Township resident to be a customer of the telecommunications company in 1973.

Greeting Wilson Tuesday was Gregory Rhoton, community marketing manager and local programming manager for Armstrong. Refreshments and a registration to win one of two Chromebooks with any donation were offered, Rhoton said. “We wanted to have a celebration to drive food donations in.”

Breaking Bread Day is a food drive held to benefit Second Harvest Food Bank of the Mahoning Valley. Monetary donations go to Youngstown Community Food Center and Gleaners Food Bank.

Rhoton said there wasn’t a set goal in mind for how much Armstrong hoped to collect.

“It’s anything we could get,” he said. “Anything helps. One can helps. Ten cans help.”

When long-time customers like Wilson make it a point to donate and discuss their own passions, it makes the drives and community outreach that much sweeter, Rhoton said.

“We’re homegrown here, beginning in Butler. We’re still a family-owned business.”

In addition to Breaking Bread, Armstrong holds the Avenge Hunger initiative in the fall leading up to Breaking Bread.

Armstrong also holds a Street Sing car and custom bike show, Rhoton said, which is heading into its 10th year on July 25. The television version is in its 13th year. Proceeds go toward the American Heart Association. There are sponsorships of community programs too.

It’s important for Armstrong to give back because “community is your business. If you don’t have people, happy people and customers that support your business, you don’t have a business,” Rhoton said.

“You’ve got to give back to the community that supports you in the long run.”

In 2021, Armstrong customers and employees donated 42,292 pounds of food plus $26,838.33 in monetary donations and nearly 200 volunteer hours. These resources were provided to over 200 community feeding programs to help supply food to families who are experiencing food insecurity.

Pictured at top: Gregory Rhoton, left, is community marketing manager and local programming manager for Armstrong. On his right is Boardman Township resident David Wilson who dropped off non-perishable goods for the Breaking Bread Day food drive Tuesday.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.