Serving Those Impacted By COVID-19

Sisters on the Frontlines in Rural Ohio Receive Grant

SALEM, OH – Dominican Sisters of Peace Rene Weeks and Barbara Rapp have each received a $1,000 “Sisters on the Frontlines” grant to support their ministries in rural Northeast Ohio.

Sister Rene and Sister Barbara serve at Centro San Pablo, the immigrant resource center at St. Paul Parish in Salem and St. Patrick Parish in Leetonia, respectively.

Sister Rene Weeks, OP, right, counsels a young parishioner at the Centro San Pablo, the immigrant resource center run by the St. Paul Parish in Salem, OH.

Sister Rene’s parish of Salem, OH, is home to a large food processing plant that attracts many Latino employees. Sr. Rene plans to use the grant to help local families obtain necessary back to school supplies. “Education is key to helping these families improve their lives,” she says. “We try to do everything we can to help these children succeed in school, knowing that it will benefit the entire family.”

Sr. Rene will also use these funds for emergency assistance with rent or food for the families that she serves through Centro San Pablo.

Leetonia, OH, where Sr. Barbara Rapp is Parish Minister, has a different set of needs. Among the mostly white population, the median household income in Leetonia is 22% lower than the national average. Many families do not have significant savings to fall back on, and Ohio’s two-month shutdown caused food insecurity for many. Sr. Barbara plans to spend much of her grant to support the food pantry at St. Patrick Church. 

Sister Barbara Rapp, OP, right, holds most of her meetings on the porch of the home that she shares with Sr. Rene to ensure safe social distancing during the pandemic.

“With children out of school from mid-March through the summer, the families in our parish are seeing food expenses sky-rocket. This grant will be a huge blessing to the 75 families that visit our food pantry every month,” Sr. Barbara said.

The Sisters on the Frontlines Grants in Northeast Ohio are supported by the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland.