SHARON, Ohio (WKBN) – The kitchen of the Sharon Elks Lodge was a very busy place this Good Friday as staff and volunteers prepared holiday meals for delivery around the Shenango Valley.

“We have a lot of people here that maybe kids have passed away or they just don’t have the loved ones near or they just can’t get out of their home for some reason or another,” said Sherris Moreira, organizer.

The Elks was was one of several restaurants and catering businesses in Sharon and Hermitage taking part in what’s being called “Operation: Easter Cheer.” In all, more than 300 meals were delivered to seniors, shut-ins and the less fortunate, with 100 more going to local first responders. The work started Thursday.

“I cooked six pounds of hams, and we cut up 50 pounds of sweet potatoes and we got all that ready and this morning, I was here bright and early and threw everything in the oven,” said Stacy Morsillo, a spokesperson for the Sharon Elks Lodge.

The idea was born out of a need to help small businesses in the community get through the pandemic. But now, it’s grown into not only an idea to help local small eateries but also provide food to others in the community.

“I just kept waiting for some organization to step up and do it. And finally, a friend said to me, ‘Sherris, just do it. Just be the person to do it,'” Moreira said.

Volunteer Michele Ohl and her kids delivered 41 meals to people living at the Buchanan Manor apartments in Wheatland. She said he wants to set a good example for the little ones.

“I’m a big practice what you preach and ‘do as I say’ doesn’t really fly in our house. We are more of ‘actions speak louder than words.’ This is a great way to show the kids how to give back,” Ohl said.

Although this was the first “Easter Cheer,” it won’t be the last.