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Pastor named to Women Warriors

YOUNGSTOWN — The Guiding Circle of the Community Foundation’s Fund for Women and Girls has selected Pastor Julia Wike, director of Basement Outreach Ministries, as its first Women Warriors honoree.

Rachael Chacon of the Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley said during the COVID-19 pandemic Wike has increased significantly her organization’s output, working to ensure no family goes without food.

“Each week, she procures food, stocks shelves, creates transportation routes, organizes volunteers and fundraisers to ensure she can purchase more groceries the following week. The Basement Outreach Ministries is one of the few organizations that delivers, making stops at homes throughout Mahoning and Trumbull counties,” she said.

During April alone, Wike organized and helped deliver groceries, hot meals and personal care products to 908 men, women and children in 344 families.

Chacon said the Fund for Women and Girls commends Wike for her efforts to ensure local families have basic necessities during the current health crisis.

“Working on the front lines, she demonstrates compassion, and her dedication is one of the ways the Mahoning Valley will make it through this together, ” Chacon said.

Officials with the Community Foundation’s Fund for Women and Girls said Wike was an obvious choice to spotlight after she was nominated.

Wike said more than 125 of those families are new to Basement Outreach. Before the pandemic, they would only get about five to 10 new families per month.

She said she’s never experienced something of this magnitude, noting many people are hurting and fearful.

“We want to give them hope and also offer a prayer. I think all of that together is so important.” Wike said.

Wike said focus has been on this primary service at the Basement Outreach Ministries, but more goes on outside of the daily activities of her organization.

She said when a text came in from a woman raising her grandchildren on a limited budget and who is prevented by age and health from going to the store herself, Wike went out and purchased diapers for the family. Wike frequently stops at the gas station to offer help to those she sees outside of the station in need of assistance.

Wike said Basement Outreach ministries is in need of donations of meat, cereal, peanut butter, monetary donations, as well as more volunteers. To donate or volunteer, call 234-806-4022 or email basement805

terraalta@gmail.com.

Women Warriors is a recognition campaign, featuring brave, courageous women who are stepping up to lead crisis relief and response efforts in the Mahoning Valley during the current COVID-19 outbreak. Each week, the Fund’s Guiding Circle selects one woman from submitted nominations to spotlight on the Foundation’s website, social media and email channels.

Community members are encouraged to use the simple nomination form to share stories of the women they see doing great things locally. The form, along with additional details, can be found at cfmv.org/ women.

bcoupland@tribtoday.com

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