Stepping Up: 717, Shenango Chamber, Homes and Hops

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — The Business Journal is asking companies and organizations to tell us how they are faring and what they are doing to help others through this pandemic crisis.

We call this series “Stepping Up.” Segments will continue to be posted during the crisis.

Submit your own story at

717 Credit Union

WARREN, Ohio – 717 Credit Union has donated $10,000 each to Second Harvest Food Bank of the Mahoning Valley and Community Services Inc. to aid in their work during the hunger crisis caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

“Second Harvest Food Bank of Mahoning Valley and Family and Community Services, Inc. have worked tirelessly to provide much needed aid and relief to individuals struggling in our communities, and we felt that their efforts were most deserving,” 717 President and CEO Gary Soukenik says. “We felt that by providing them with much needed funds, they would be able to continue to provide vital services.”

Second Harvest has seen a 40% increase in demand since the pandemic arrived in the Valley and, in April along, Community Services distributed 67,000 meals.

“Every dollar donated can help distribute six meals, so this will be 60,000 meals, which is incredible,” says Becky Page, director of development at Second Harvest.. “We are filling over 18,000 requests for emergency food assistance each week. This a very challenging time for everybody.”

Adds Community Services’ executive director, Mark Frisone: “Family and Community Services is on the front lines of the regional response to hunger. …We thank 717 Credit Union for their generous contribution.”

Shenango Valley Chamber of Commerce

SHARON, Pa. – The Shenango Valley Chamber of Commerce coordinated a “dessert drop” at EMS services in Mercer County to honor them as part of National EMS Week, May 17 through 23.

The event was co-sponsored by Buhl Regional Health Foundation and the Community Foundation of Western Pennsylvania and Eastern Ohio. Cookies were provided by Weber Catering in New Wilmington and chocolates by Daffin’s Candies.

Receiving the treats were McGonigle Ambulance Service and Elite EMS in Hermitage, Life Force Ambulance of Western Pennsylvania in Greenville, Superior Ambulance Service and Training Institute in Grove City and the Mercer County Department of Public Safety/Mercer County Enhanced 911 Services.

“Dessert drops and lunches are all part of the #SupportOurFirstResponder program through the Shenango Valley Chamber, which started March 26 in response to the pandemic,” says Sherris Moreira, executive director of the chamber. “To date, we have helped coordinate more than $10,000 back into the local restaurant, catering and candy community since the shutdown started, as well as shown support to more than 35 police and fire departments, hospitals, doctor office and other medical teams in the Shenango Valley.”

Homes and Hops

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The inaugural Homes and Hops 5K Growler Race will be held through June 28, with all proceeds support programming at Oh Wow! The Roger & Gloria Jones Children’s Center for Science & Technology. 

The virtual race allows participants to complete their 5K between May and June 28. Participants over the age of 21 will be eligible to redeem a free beer at Birdfish Brewing in Columbiana, Biker Brewhouse in Austintown, Noble Creature Cask House in Youngstown or Modern Methods in Warren. Proof of participation will be managed through submissions to Second Sole in Boardman.

Homes and Hops is a video podcast series that highlights the area’s positive change, with a spotlight on local brewers.

“Homes and Hops has always been about how our local businesses come together to support the larger community, and this is perfect example of that,” said Lisa Resnick, founder of Homes and Hops and realtor at Burgan Real Estate. “Oh Wow is a tremendous asset to our area and we are fortunate to be able to partner with them to support their goals of continuing to grow to a hub of STEM education for the entire Valley.”

Registration for the 5K, which also includes a training guide, a shirt and a medal, is available here.

LaFrance Cleaners

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – LaFrance Cleaners is offering high school seniors free graduation gown pressing at its Youngstown and Boardman sites through May 20.

“It’s a tough year for graduates without traditional commencements and celebrations,” says LaFrance President Stephen Weiss, whose own son is graduating this year. “We want to do what we can to recognize these students and let them know it is a special day.” 

Both the Boardman store, 721 Boardman-Canfield Road, and the Youngstown store, 2607 Glenwood Ave., are open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.


CHAMPION TOWNSHIP – Frank Lindsay, founder of nonprofit organization Rock4Reason and information technology manager at Kent State Trumbull, is donating 50 stress care packages to patients at Hope Center for Cancer Care in Howland and Boardman.

Each kit includes candles, tea, socks, stress balls and lotion; all items have been sanitized and sat in quarantine for at least a week prior to delivery. The bags will be delivered May 19.

Lindsay and his wife, Heather, founded Rock4Reason eight years ago with friends Matt and Jennifer Dumo as a campaign to support the Kent State Trumbull Relay for Life team, which raises money for the American Cancer Society and Hospice of the Valley.

“We were talking about how this pandemic is so stressful for everyone, especially those going through treatment, Lindsay says. “Heather and Jennifer came up with this idea to create the care packages.”

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