As children from across the Ohio Valley head back to the classroom, Men of Change hosted a drive-thru school supplies giveaway in Wheeling to help families in need of extra assistance. Men of Change, a group of leaders/elders from Wheeling’s Black community, work towards a common goal of empowering, uplifting and educating our community while serving as positive role models and a support system for young Black men.
In addition to school supplies, kids could receive haircuts compliments of Moor Cutz Barber Shop. Families were also provided with food thanks to a donation from St. James Lutheran Church and Wheeling Catholic Charities. Adults also had the opportunity to register to vote and complete Census forms while they were there. “With everything going on with social distancing, we wanted to make sure we did something that sent a message that community work and activism can still be done during this pandemic,” said Ron Scott Jr., Men of Change member and YWCA Director of Cultural Diversity and Community Outreach.
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While Men of Change was the primary organizer of the event, it was a collaborative effort among multiple businesses and community organizations that made the event a success. “We linked up with new organizations like OV Cares and partnered with existing entities like YSS, Ohio County Schools and Zigenfelders,” said Scott. Individual contributors also included Chad Stradwick, Daniel Finsley and Ron Zavolta.
In total, over 400 children were served during the four-hour event on Saturday. “Our goal as a group was to let the community know we are here. It’s one thing to talk about helping and change. It’s another to actually do it,” said Scott. “As Black leaders in the community, we wanted to make sure that the Valley knows that a group of Black men can have the best interest of the entire community in mind. We are here to make sure everyone knows that we are in this together.”