Donte Stewart Recaps the 2020 Holidays

at Arrow Passage Recovery

Donte Stewart Recaps the 2020 Holidays

at Arrow Passage Recovery

Table of Contents

The Importance of Giving Back to the Community

An adage, old but true, says to understand where we’re going, we have to know where we’ve been. Arrow Passage Recovery traces its roots back to the close-knit community of Massillon, Ohio. Massillon is home to 35,000 people, mostly blue-collar workers who take pride in their jobs. They’ve learned to make do with limited resources compared to the cities not far from them. It’s a place of community, family, and neighborly duty. On Friday nights, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who isn’t at the football game. Chances are about 60% of the town is packed into the bleachers, cheering for the Massillon Tigers high school football team.

For the most part, Massillon isn’t unlike the idyllic neighborhoods of old where everyone knows each other, and a neighbor is as good as kin. But Massillon, like any other town or city in America, isn’t without addiction issues. Ohio is a prevalent state for drug addiction, and in a small town like Massillon, when one hurts, they all hurt.

As Donte Stewart, CEO of Arrow Passage Recovery, puts it, “[w]hen people in our community are hurting, we want to support them.”

Turkeys Distribution 2020

A lot changed in 2020 due to COVID. Those changes are felt most by small towns. Arrow Passage Recovery stayed true to tradition and the spirit of giving back and continued its program to feed as many families as possible.
“We [didn’t want] COVID to stop what we want to do and continue down the path of helping the community.” Says Donte Stewart, “This year was challenging, and coming together was very emotional.”
It wasn’t easy to organize a wide-scale holiday event before COVID. It takes a certain level of dedication to the community to pull off something like that during the pandemic, and Stewart says, “We hope to expand the program next year.”

Community Partnerships

Each year Arrow Passage gives away more and more turkeys to the families that need them. And in doing so, it creates new partnerships in the community. Donte Stewart said,
“We are at 1,000 turkeys [in] the last four years. Every year we partner with an organization to help distribute them. For the 2020 holidays, we partnered with the Rotary of Plain Township.”
Of course, none of this would be possible without critical players from the Massillon community.

Donte Stewart gave “a shout-out to Coach Moore’s wife Becca, who taught families how to cook a holiday meal over Zoom; the families loved it.”

The Massillon Tigers were an integral part of the project. Stewart explains, “the football teams worked out of our headquarters in Massillon to help hand out the turkeys.”1

COVID Can’t Stop Donte Stewart’s Commitment to Massillon

Arrow Passage didn’t let COVID-19 stop tradition, but they did have to adjust to meet changing laws and regulations regarding the pandemic. According to Stewart, “COVID changed things, forcing families to schedule a time to pick up their turkey.” The principles of Arrow Passage imbue the spirit of the holidays. In that regard, they ensured that everyone could fully experience the magic of the holiday season.

Fun Fact: Turkey, the default thanksgiving meal for millions, gained its place on the dinner table by being incredibly filling. A single turkey can feed a family. And by being reasonably easy to hunt. However, Sarah Josepha Hale’s writings elevated the bird into the holiday status it holds today.2

Thanksgiving Meal in the Facility

A traditional Thanksgiving meal includes turkey, stuffing, corn, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, candied yams, and pie. Donte Stewart hires a local chef to prepare the meal at Arrow Passage Recovery.

“Thanksgiving is always an event,” says Stewart, “Our staff pulls together and, with the help of chef Richard Smith, lay out the entire traditional meal. Not one item is missing from that.”

Christmas Adoption of Families

How Does Adopt-A-Family Work?

Adopt-A-Family is a holiday program to provide holiday meals and gifts for a family in financially dire straits. The program has been around for years and bought food and presents for millions of families. The program is designed to feed families in need and maintain their holiday spirits.

Both Arrow Passage and Donte Stewart do various forms of community givebacks, including the adopt-a-family program. “We adopt families in need through the Boys & Girls Club every year. We knock off their Christmas wish list.”

It’s not about the money at Arrow Passage; it’s the commitment to charity and helping their fellow person.

“No matter how we are doing financially, as a company, we’ll try to find a way to make sure we give something, if not everything, we got.”

Christmas Gift Exchanges at the Facility

At Arrow Passage, the employees aren’t exempt from feeling the holiday spirit. All employees from ground level to senior management celebrate. Stewart notes, “we have a gift exchange for everyone at Arrow Passage Recovery. Nothing crazy, nothing big, but something to say Merry Christmas.
“Especially after a year such as 2020, taking small moments to celebrate can brighten the spirit. We were able to celebrate together, even when we had to do so, apart.”

Donte Stewart Looks Ahead

As with any new year, we are faced with opportunities and challenges. Though we cannot predict what the future holds, we are excited to continue to give back by healing others, creating relationships, and building community in the place we love.

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