So has Cleveland activist Yvonne Pointer, who spearheads several programs. She founded Positive Plus, an organization for women whose lives have been touched by violence. She built and maintains a school for young children in Ghana: the Gloria Pointer Memorial School, named for her young daughter who was raped and murdered in 1984.
During the pandemic, Pointer has added another project: she’s begun attending to essential workers. Like Hall, Pointer tapped into her network to provide lunch for staff at some local hospitals and police precincts. Restaurants, such as Angie’s Soul Food and the Harvard Park Chick-fil-a, have pitched in with matching contributions. “Essential workers don’t have time to go out for lunch,” Pointer noted. This wave of giving started when Pointer teamed up with another Christian woman, Victoria L. Davis, to provide food to the local women’s shelter at the onset of the pandemic.
Both Hall and Pointer bear earthly riches—creativity, charisma, generosity—that are unquantifiable yet priceless. In the face of a death-dealing pandemic, fear has not stymied either one.
Serving in a place like Cleveland is so very necessary. The city has experienced eight straight decades of population loss as jobs from the steel and auto industries diminished. Children grow up and leave the city for education and opportunity.
The pandemic has provided the church with “an opportunity to connect to what is relevant and real,” said Frances Mills, director of the Cleveland Office of Minority Health and an associate minister at New Freedom Ministries in Cleveland.
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