CLEVELAND — From shopping, to packaging and delivering, Yvonka Hall has her hand in every step of getting gift bags to Northeast Ohio area families in need.

What You Need To Know

  • A Cleveland woman is making sure the needs of vulnerable residents are met

  • More than 4,000 meals have been given as part of Yvonka Hall’s Babies and Brunch Program

  • Volunteers who help Hall travel to Cleveland from as far as Youngstown and Akron

For months, she and volunteers with the Northeast Ohio Black Health Coalition, a nonprofit organization focused on addressing African American disparities in education, employment, housing, and health, have been a support system for families hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We knew we couldn't do our normal work,” Hall said. “What we've done is going to have to change to a different kind of space. But we also knew that the community had an unmet need and there was food insecurity.”

Hall started the Babies and Brunch and Meals for Mama Program, dropping 30 days’ worth of food and essentials off to as many as 85 children, whose families not only say they appreciate the support, but need it.

“No matter what your income is, if your child is at home, you're spending more money, and if you're barely making enough to make it, then where is that money coming from? You know, you can't take money out of rent in order for you to feed your kids, but you got to feed your kids.” Hall said.

Thousands of bags have left Hall’s home since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. First, the bags are filled and then are picked up by volunteers. Hall said she couldn't do the work without them.

“Four thousand seven hundred meals later, yeah, they gave and the volunteers, they came, and they still come in cars lined up down the street, to come in and deliver meals. It's just, I don't I don't even know how to explain it. It's just absolutely amazing. What we can do if we work together,” she said.

Hall said this work is motivated by a promise she made to her late mother.

“This is a promise to the original Yvonne Hall that I would make sure she wasn’t forgotten, so when all these bags go out, she goes out with them. What I hope that the children get away from it, is that when they were little, because they're going to get old, that somebody took the time to make a difference in their life,” Hall said.

For more information on how you can donate or receive help, please visit the Northeast Ohio Black Health Coalition website and Babies and Brunch Project Facebook page.