Former Tri-C Student Teams with Church to Give Away 100 Baskets During COVID-19 by Aymia Browder

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Former Tri-C Student Teams with Church to Give Away 100 Baskets During COVID-19

Latonya Burton Mickey is the Founding President of Five Ladies Delivering Hands, an outreach program based in Cleveland Ohio. She is an Advocacy Coordinator, Donations Coordinator, Cleveland Street Chronicle Coordinator and an employee at Northeast Ohio Coalition for The Homeless. Mickey received a Bachelor’s degree in Health Administration, and a master’s degree in Healthcare Management. Born and raised in Cleveland Ohio, Mickey began her journey into the missionary board at St. Teresa Holiness Science Church. Mickey, and members of her church has hosted a turkey giveaway for the holidays to relieve families that are facing hardship during COVID-19. She is well known for her unique style of Missionary help.

Mickey said that a revelation came to her, while she was grieving her mother. She said that Reverend Theresa Hatcher always gave her sound advice, so she went to visit her. “My Mother passed away on Mother’s Day of 2000, and on Mother’s Day a year later, I walked to the church because I was having a tough time,” said Mickey. As I walked through the church doors, I heard God say to me that I was going to help people.”

On the verge of becoming homeless, Mickey didn’t commit to the mission right away. She pressed on to finish her college education. With healthcare as her field of expertise, she found it hard to obtain employment in the healthcare industry. In 2012, Mickey was still unemployed, and she began to assist the missionaries in serving hot meals at St. Theresa Holiness Science Church on Saturday mornings. Eventually, Mickey supplied clothing items to distribute to the community, while they were waiting to be served. “My reward came when the people would smile while shopping, said Mickey. “They let me know that the clothes were a huge help.”

In 2016, a violent windstorm resulted in the destruction of the church; leaving the members of St. Theresa displaced for a while. Without a physical building to operate out of, Mickey discovered that there were other routes to serving her community. Mickey reached out to the leader of St. Theresa’s missionary board Diane Tubbs, and together they formed the ministry The Five Ladies Delivering Hands. 

Diane Tubbs, a retired Cuyahoga County worker and Missionary worker of St. Theresa Holiness Science church for 18 years thought it was important to keep the ministry active. She feared that the community would suffer without the presence of the church. “I joined forces with Mrs. Mickey because it was such a blessing to the people and for us to be able to do it…we didn’t want it to stop,” said Tubbs. 

Sheila Burton, a Supervisor at Koinonia Homes and missionary worker of St. Theresa Holiness Science Church has served on the missionary board for 18 years. Burton said that she has always set her employment goals towards nurturing others. She said that serving hot meals at the church was her livelihood, and she was glad that Mickey found a way to keep the dream alive. “It is my passion,” said Burton. “I think it’s something that you are born with, something that is inside of you.”

 In 2017 Mickey held a blanket and tent drive for the homeless population that resides outside all year. After receiving an abundance of Blankets and tents, Mickey decided to donate a portion to the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless (NEOCH). Mickey became a volunteer for NEOCH and was offered a position as an Advocacy Coordinator. Shortly after she received employment, Mickey was promoted to Donation Coordinator, and Street Chronicle Coordinator. “When I was doing the ministry at the church it was heartening enough… but when I started working for NEOCH I got to see what the homeless plight was all about,” said Mickey. “It just made me work harder to try and help people because any turn I could have taken in life could have landed me there.”

Mickey always had a desire to combine her expertise in healthcare with effectively helping families that are less fortunate than herself. In 2020 that opportunity came. The Coronavirus smacked Ohio hard in March, restricting all gatherings for large groups. The population was asked to adhere to wearing a mask when going out into public, or when coming into close contact with other individuals. After nine months of limitations to the public, the holidays have rolled back around. Mickey knew that many families were impacted by the pandemic and would need some assistance. Mickey created a poster on Facebook asking her founding organization and the missionary members of St. Theresa to collect donations for a turkey giveaway. Immediately donations from members started to pour in. Mickey and her team prepared 50 turkey baskets, and 50 essential care baskets and distributed them out on the church grounds. “It’s very gratifying to be able to do this with our church members because when it’s time for our congregation to come together they will show up and show out,” said Mickey. “They did a beautiful job for Thanksgiving. I got more donations than I thought, which is allowing me to do something for the kids Christmas.”

Mickey said that her favorite duty is preparing the meals to take to the homeless shelters.” The giveaways are great, but I like the hands-on experience because you get to interact with the people,” said Mickey. “You get to see so much more.”

 The fall of COVID-19 will allow Mickey to reach families beyond the church’s boundaries. “I have done things in my own community and I did not know the need was so great,” said Mickey. “This is what I am going to do for the rest of my days.”

Eight years later, The Five Ladies continue to increase with a crew of 7 people and over 50 members to back them up. The Five Ladies offer hot meals once a month, food pantry goods, clothing items, and essential care packages.

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