Supporter Spotlight

Elk County Foods

Elk County Foods

Elk County Foods owner Steve Cleveland says he’s proud to be “an aggressive supporter” of CAPSEA and the work done by its Executive Director, Billie Jo Weyant, and others.

“We know Billie Jo and we support them,” Cleveland says. “She’s something else. They have quite a caring group.”

Steve, who owns Elk County Foods stores in Ridgway and Johnsonburg, says their small rural community needs organizations such as CAPSEA.

Steve has lived in Ridgway for 32 years and owned the store in that town since 2001. He bought the Johnsonburg store 10 years later. Elk County Foods employs 130 people, from teens to seniors.

The store provides food for CAPSEA’s fundraisers, as he does for dozens of other organizations in the area, too, totaling about $100,000 a year.

“Anytime there’s food involved, Elk County Foods is involved,” he says. “We are quiet, but as a company we consistently help, year in and year out.”

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“Anytime there’s food involved, Elk County Foods is involved,” he says. “We are quiet, but as a company we consistently help, year in and year out.”

The reason? “That’s the way a small community works,” he says. “I think that every time you are in a rural community you have a sense of closeness that you don’t have in an urban environment.”

Steve sees CAPSEA’s work as crucial in the community. He calls its impact on the community “huge,” because rural communities such as Elk and Cameron counties “do not have the multiple resources that you would probably have in an urban environment.”

And, in small communities, the services CAPSEA provides are a necessity, he says.

“We are fortunate to have them. We are fortunate to have the passion of the people who run the place,” Steve added.

He says he knows people who have needed to turn to CAPSEA for help. “We knew where to go. We know what they do. We know their effectiveness. Therein lies the value.”

And if someone needs help, “in this sized community, we know where to send them,” he says.

“Everybody knows everybody,” Steve says. “The good is that everybody plays together, cries together, laughs together. It’s who we are.”

What makes CAPSEA special, he adds, are its staff — “it’s the people they have there, especially Billie Jo. It starts with her.”

During the pandemic, with many forced to stay indoors for lengthy periods of time, and many dealing with unemployment, lack of food or money, people get more anxious and worried. 

“Therein lies the stress and therein lies why CAPSEA is important,” Steve says.


A note from CAPSEA Executive Director, Billie Jo:

“Our small nonprofit couldn’t survive without the generous support of local businesses and neighbors like Steve and Elk County Foods. We are so grateful to them for being a friend to CAPSEA and to our team. Most don’t know the true generosity of Steve and his team. They don’t promote it, they don’t brag about it, but helping our community is a core value for Elk County Foods. THANK YOU!”