Toledo Area Leaders Analyze Current Outreach Efforts in the
By Tricia Hall
Sojourner’s Truth Reporter
Local leaders from the government, social service and
community-based agencies discussed urgent community issues
during a recent video call that was held on May 14, 2020.
Community leader Paul Hubbard convened and facilitated the
45-minute meeting that requested reports on current outreach
efforts in specific sectors with respect to opportunity
The video conference included representatives from the Lucas
County Commissioner’s office, Toledo Unit NAACP, Complete
Count Committee, Center of Hope, Toledo African American
Chamber of Commerce and The Movement.
The first topic solicited information about coronavirus
testing sites. The first local testing location was Rite
Aide, and by mid-April, four additional locations now have
the resources to provide testing. These sites are
Neighborhood Health Association, Kroger and Walmart.
“We’ve advanced our testing abilities, in part thanks to
Doni Miller and NHA, one of the current testing locations.
We’re testing the men and women of Cherry Street Mission,
and looking at public housing testing in the future in
partnership with LMHA,” explained Pete Gerken, Lucas County
The Toledo Unit NAACP the annual Freedom Fund dinner. “We’re
having conversations about health verse wealth, and
employees re-entering the workforce. We understand that
people, our people are cautious right now because of
reported health issues. We are willing to help our community
wherever it is needed. We will volunteer to check on
seniors, help with the Census or other needed services,”
explained Ray Wood, president Toledo NAACP.
The group discussed the shifted 2020 census timeline.
Residents have until October 31 to complete a self-response
form. Census takers will conduct field interviews from
August 11 until October 31. The Census Bureau will review
submitted data from May 1, 2020 until July 2021, then
deliver final population data to the president by April 30,
2021. The results are also delivered to Congress just 14
days after the president receives the results and than
legislative redistricting begins. According to local new
reports, Toledo’s self-response rate is low.
“We’re focusing on the low response Census Tracts in Toledo.
Everything that we are talking about today is impacted by
the Census. This impacts our public housing, homelessness
services, redistricting, and so much more. We have to get
our self-response numbers up and if you’re on this call
today, I am asking you to join this call to action,”
explained Deborah Barnett, Toledo-Lucas County Complete
Count Committee coordinator.
In the midst of the pandemic, several faith-based
institutions expanded or launched food pantries. “Several
religious leaders are addressing food insecurity in our
communities. We’re here to serve our communities. We have
also begun having conversations with the Toledo’s Mayor to
discuss utility concerns of local churches,” explained Rev.
Donald Perryman, PhD, pastor of Center of Hope.
The primary election and November’s election was also
discussed by Tina Butts of the Movement. The local board of
elections reports that 16.7 percent of Toledo’s voters
casted their ballots, and this was after the March Ohio
primary was rescheduled due to the pandemic.
“We need to mail out the November ballots now, instead of
waiting until the last minute. Toledo’s mail has an average
turnaround of 7-8 days. There were people who waited until
the last minute to request a ballot to vote in the primary
election. We need to make sure that our people are aware of
their voting options, because we’re facing an uphill ballot
in November,” explained Tina Butts of The Movement.
The final topic discussed was local economic development.
Commissioner Gerken explained county-wide efforts while Roy
Hodge of the Toledo African American Chamber of Commerce and
Toledo’s Jumpstart provided a city-wide prospective.
“At the Toledo African American Chamber of Commerce we’re
diligently identifying and bridging gaps for entrepreneurs
of color that are in the area of technology assistance,
professional filings, and restructuring organizational
structures in this space. At Jumpstart, we’re working with
our clients and providing resources that can remove
obstacles that can assist our community,” explained Hodge.
“The County’s economic development plan is different than
the City of Toledo, our focus is workforce and training. We
focus on the actual workforce, matching employers with
employees, and meeting workforce needs. I find that the
information I received today was valuable. I can use these
talking points to push initiatives. I would like to create a
community roundtable based off today’s conversations, of
individuals from different industries and coalitions. We
need to take what we learned today and share it with our
partners. We need to take what we learned today from all the
speakers, and share it with our larger audiences,” explained
A list of some local faith-based food pantries includes:
Toledo Masjid Al-Islam located at 722 E. Bancroft St,
Lutheran Social Services of Northwest Ohio on Collingwood
Blvd., Monroe United Methodist Church, River of Life Church
located at 3611 Upton, Indiana Avenue Missionary Baptist
Church. Those in need can contact United Way 211 for
According to the Lucas County Board of Elections, Ohio
citizens have 90 days until the election to request an
absentee ballot. The absentee ballot must have proper
postage to the return envelope, postmarked no later than the
day before the election day, and received by the board of
election office no later than the 10th day after
the official election day. For additional information about
in-person Absentee voting or returning an absentee ballot in
person, visit the Lucas County Board of Election website or