United Way gift to help those affected by virus

031720...R UW/717...Warren...03-17-20...Gary Soukenik, President and CEO of 717 Credit Union, left, presents a, $10,000 check to Ginny Pasha, President of United Way of Trumbull County, to address emerging needs in Trumbull Co. as a result of the COVID-19 virus...by R. Michael Semple

United Way agencies in Trumbull and Mahoning counties have received funds to help people during the coronavirus pandemic.

The United Way of Trumbull County was gifted $10,000 by Seven Seventeen Credit Union president and CEO Gary Soukenik in an effort to combat the emerging needs in the county as a result of the COVID-19 virus.

Soukenik previously had served as the board chairman for the United Way and recognized the immediate impact the closures of various businesses has on the community.

“As a former board member, I know that the United Way of Trumbull County provides funding for programs that are boots on the ground in this situation and we at Seven Seventeen know that the United Way of Trumbull County has a process in place to make sure this gift is used in the most effective and efficient way to have the greatest impact,” Soukenik said.

The gift only is available to partner agencies of the United Way, including SCOPE Senior Services in Trumbull County and Catholic Charities.

United Way of Trumbull County President Ginny Pasha said with the gift, it will try to help mitigate the additional financial burden on partner agencies who see a need for childcare, food and emergency financial assistance.

Mike Wilson, executive director of SCOPE, said the additional support will benefit seniors by being able to meet the increased demand for food, toiletries and the additional expense to deliver food and other necessary items.

The United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley is working closely with its funded partner agencies, other nonprofits, government agencies, school districts and the business community to come up with solutions to the problems faced by their students, families and individuals.

“Our United Way already had a donor approach us with a large financial gift to get immediate help to the families in need,” United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley President Bob Hannon said. “We want to give people a place they can turn if they want to donate.”

The financial gift came from Jim Sisek, the trustee for the Jane Lamb Foundation, for $25,000. Hannon said the gift will go directly to children who attend schools that partner with the organization’s Success After 6 program. The schools are Girard, Youngstown, Struthers, Campbell and Liberty.

Hannon said the United Way bought 500 $50 gift cards to various supermarkets in the area and will distribute them to the children. A second phase still is in planning, but it would piggyback on what the schools are doing with breakfast and lunches. The organization would pass out 25-pound boxes of food to the families.

The United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley is working with the schools to determine the best course of action.

The Jane Lamb Foundation has worked with the United Way for decades, but Hannon said this gift goes above and beyond anything it has done in the past.



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