For Abby Francis of East Liverpool, ideas just come to her. One came to her while she was cooking soup for her children.
"I was just thinking to myself, 'What am I going to do with all this soup? Give it to the neighbors? No, they're probably sick of me. I know, I'll give it away to people who need it,'" said Francis.
Thus began the Feed the Town Project, a program set up to assist welfare recipients who are running low on food stamps at the end of the month.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the East Liverpool-Salem area had an unemployment rate of 8.2 percent in July, which was 0.8 percent higher than the national average.
Through a partnership with the Salvation Army and Maxi's Lunch Box, an East Liverpool restaurant owned by her grandmother Penny Hutchinson, Francis started to get things into place.
Major Stella McGuire of the Salvation Army said Francis contacted her to figure out a plan.
"She gave us a vision of what she wanted to do and we let her run with it," said McGuire
Hutchinson has offered to supply food and cooking space.
"We plan to donate food each month, not all of it, but some. And I told her if she needs to cook there she can," said Hutchinson.
As of now, the Salvation Army is just a distribution place. But any leftover food from the Feed the Town Project gets donated to the Salvation Army's pantry, another inspiration for the project.
"The Salvation Army has a pantry where they hand out food every day. Toward the end of the month, and I've witnessed it because I worked there for three years, it gets very empty," said Francis.
On Aug. 29, the Feed the Town Project had its first test. Thirty people showed up to receive meals and another 15 were fed by the leftover donations.
Francis said she didn't have much time to interact with the people who came in for meals, though.
"It was like "A Bug's Life." They came, they ate, they left," Francis said.
As of right now, meals will be served the last Thursday of every month, but due to the test runs success, McGuire thinks the number of services will increase.
"I do believe it will become more frequent as time goes on," she said. "We wanted the test run to see how it would do and if it would be successful."
Francis hasn't slowed down since the initial success. She's already starting to make plans for a second location and is even researching how to make it an actual charity.
"I've started looking into Wellsville and tried to talk to the alumni association there to try to get some fundraisers set up so the community doesn't always have to be constantly giving. If we have some of our own money it would really help with donations," said Francis.
The project also is being sponsored by other local businesses. Francis says the businesses give what they can.
"2 Smart Cookies sponsored us and they donated some cookies so the kids could have a dessert with their meal. My cousin Lori, from Lori's Hair Salon, just donated money and said 'Get whatever you need,'" said Francis.
For now, Francis and her team are gearing up for the next event. Francis hopes to have a fundraiser before the next meal is served on Oct 31. Until then, she will continue to work on making the Feed the Town Project a part of the community. She said she hopes it moves into other parts of the country.
"I want people to talk about it: 'Oh, Feed the Town Project, that's in Columbiana County, it's really nice,'" said Francis.
For more information on Feed the Town Project, contact Abby Francis at 330-383-5078 or Maxi's Lunch Box at 330-386-7775.