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Cleveland woman turns grief of losing her daughter into campaign to give back to others

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Posted at 10:27 AM, Oct 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-29 10:27:24-04

CLEVELAND, Ohio — During her darkest days, a Cleveland woman prayed for an escape from the pain, and in the process found hope in helping others.

“It was service to others that saved my life,” said Yvonne Pointer.

Pointer's daughter was murdered in 1984, and her case went unsolved for 29 years.

Without that justice, along with the unbearable grief of losing a child, Pointer lost her will to live. That is until she said God gave her a new purpose.

That mission keeps her busy. Pointer is always on the go.

“If it looks like I am tired it’s because I am,” said Pointer.

So much so these days, there's not much time to focus on herself.

“If I look like I’m having a bad hair day, it’s because I am, because my whole life is service,” said Pointer.

Since the start of the pandemic, Pointer has been giving a much-needed boost to the men and women facing extra risk because of the coronavirus.

“We have to search for something that we can find hope in," she said.

It all started after Jeff Brown asked for prayers for frontline workers.

“Let’s do a little more the pray, let’s give them something to eat,” said Brown.

For months now, the dynamic duo has been dropping off food all over Cleveland.

News 5 caught up with them outside the Louis Stokes VA Hospital as they brought lunch to nurses in the spinal cord unit.

“It’s awesome to have that support from her,” said Pamela Koharick, Louis Stokes VA Hospital nurse.

Koharick said they're so focused on their patients they often forget to take the time to eat.

“They definitely come first — they’re our heroes. That happens a lot,” said Koharick.

A gesture like this not only reminds them to take a break, but that the community's got their back.

“It’s comforting that people on the outside think about what we’re doing on the inside,” said Shawndal Lynch, Louis Stokes VA Hospital nurse.

So far, more than 2,500 frontline workers have been fed, including officers at all five Cleveland Police district headquarters.

“We want them protecting our neighborhoods and we want to show them love,” said Jeff Brown.

That love is especially needed in the department's narcotics unit which is still reeling from the shooting death of officer James Skernivitz.

“To lose someone violently, it’s very, very painful. I know from personal experience with the homicide of my daughter,” said Pointer.

Pointer made it a priority to deliver a meal for those officers.

“We thought we were just going to drop the food off and they’re like no, they want to meet you; they want to meet you,” said Pointer.

The reaction she received left a lasting impression.

“Here are these big, burly officers with tears in their eyes just saying thank you. Just that level of appreciation for the simple things as a sandwich really touched my heart,” said Pointer.

Donations through Pointer's “Hope Haven”, a daily live program on Facebook, along with "The Jeff Brown" podcast keep this pandemic outreach going.

“The more people saw that they can be a part of the solution they started donating. People were like I’m in, I’m in,” said Pointer.

For as long as the risk is there, Pointer and Brown will continue feeding frontline workers.

“We need our police, we need our doctors, we need our nurses,” said Brown.

They not only offer a meal that satisfies hunger, but it also fuels the soul.

“We appreciate everything you do to serve our community,” said Pointer.