(Posted Aug. 23, 2023)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
“Tracy’s heart has always been with children.”
That is how Carol Beachy, a member of the West Jefferson Ox Roast committee, started her speech announcing this year’s Ox Roast parade grand marshal. That opening line perfectly suits honoree Tracy Kronk, founder of Sufficient Grace.
Nearly 12 years ago, Kronk was tutoring a young student at Norwood Elementary. When she found out he didn’t have much food at home, she started putting items in his school bag to take home.
“By the end of the week, I was doing the same for a young girl. Within two weeks, it was 10 children. In three weeks, it was 17. Now, we serve 750 children,” Kronk said.
Kronk established Sufficient Grace in January 2012. Working out of West Jefferson United Methodist Church with the help of volunteers, she assembles food boxes that are delivered to schools for children to take home for meals over the weekend. She also provides students with basic hygiene items, sending packages home with elementary students and offering choose-what-you-need hygiene pantries on site at the middle schools and high schools she serves.
Kronk’s mission covers the following school districts and schools in Madison, Clark, and Union counties: London, West Jefferson, Fairbanks, Northeastern, Southeastern, Monroe Elementary in the Jonathan Alder Local School District, Fairhaven, and Mac-A-Cheek Learning Center.
The numbers are impressive. In the 2022-23 school year alone, Sufficient Grace distributed 93,206 meals and 12,734 hygiene items. Since its start in 2012, the organization has distributed 853,826 meals and is on track to reach the 1 million mark in late 2024.
Kronk is grateful for the tremendous amount of support she receives to make it all possible. When people ask how they can help, she points them in three directions.
“First, I ask people to pray for our organization,” she said.
Donations and volunteers are the other two pillars of Sufficient Grace. Supporters can visit sg2012.org to find a list of needed food items. Drop-off locations are West Jefferson Hardware and Merchants Bank in London. Monetary donations can be made through the website or mailed to: Sufficient Grace, P.O. Box 92, West Jefferson, OH 43162.
Volunteers meet at West Jefferson United Methodist Church at 1:30 p.m. on Mondays after Labor Day. Those interested in lending a hand are invited to simply show up. Groups who want to help are asked to make arrangements ahead of time.
As for what she thinks about being named grand marshal for the work she has done to serve children, Kronk said, “It’s pretty surreal.”
Originally from New Mexico, she moved to West Jefferson 25 years ago. She said it took her many years to stop feeling like a transplant and start feeling like West Jefferson was her home.
“Sufficient Grace has engrained me in the community and other communities and given me my own identity. The grand marshal honor is another validation that I am doing good work,” she said.
Kronk and her husband, Ty, have been married for over 24 years. They have four children–Mary, Benjamin, Jacob, and Grace–and two grandchildren, Miriam and Judah.
The West Jefferson Ox Roast is set for Sept. 2-4 on the Ox Roast grounds at Garrette Park in the center of town. The parade steps off at noon on Sept. 2. For more information and a schedule of events, visit West Jefferson Ox Roast.