Those who knew Ron Farace knew him to be a fun-spirited, kindhearted man who put others before himself.
As the night manager at JayC Food Store in Brownstown, he would sometimes buy customers’ groceries just for making him laugh.
Last month, Farace died after an automobile accident. He was 52 when he passed away, leaving behind his wife of 31 years, Shelly Farace, and his two children, Britni and Joe Farace.
In his memory, his family, co-workers and friends want to continue his legacy of giving.
“One of Ron’s Christmas wishes was that he and his crew work the food donation together as a team,” said Susan Christman, a JayC employee. “He had done it the previous month with a couple of our guys and loved doing it.”
Christman said Farace was always concerned with everyone else, never himself and was always wanting to be helpful however he could be, always going the extra mile.
“Our night and day crew consisting of stockers and other nighttime workers worked (the mobile pantry) on Dec. 16,” she said. “The food bank is normally held every third Friday of each month at the fairgrounds. Last time was an exception that it was held on a Thursday.”
While helping at the Gleaners mobile pantry this month, Christman met a volunteer, Ed Sitarski, who was helping with the food.
Sitarski, who works for Cummins Inc., said it was great having such a large crew helping with the food distribution, and they had cars lined up in two aisles and loaded up 225 cars in a half-hour.
“I heard that the JayC crew was there because their boss had passed, and he had wanted them to help at the mobile food bank this month,” he said. “I thought that was a story that needed to be told.”
In Jackson County, there are 7,800 food insecure people with 2,889 of those being children, and the poverty rate is 16.1% and 39% are working but not earning enough, according to gleaners.org.
Since Gleaners began bringing its food pantry and mobile food bank to Jackson County, 521,278 meals and 164,789 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables have been distributed within the county. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a 69% increase in the need for assistance.
Britni and Joe Farace both helped at the food pantry this month in honor of their dad. Joe said he and his dad volunteered together at the November food drive, too.
“The food drive was done through Gleaners, a community food bank, and pretty much my mom and dad knew someone who had connections with the food bank,” Joe said. “So my mom desperately wanted my dad and I to go out there and attend because all of the people passing out food are volunteers from the local towns.”
Joe said after they worked at the food pantry last month, his dad was looking forward to doing it again this month.
“But unfortunately, he lost his life in a car accident,” Joe said. “Everyone who wore a Santa hat in the picture of this year’s food drive is everyone who volunteered this month in honor of Ron. He did a lot of things for a lot of people, so it just feels right for us to continue this legacy.”
Joe said most of the volunteers are employed at JayC Food Store.
“Ron was not only my dad but my boss, as well,” he said. “To me, it’s not so much just the whole ‘getting it public’ thing as it is the idea of remembering him for who he truly was — a selfless man.”