YOUNGSTOWN – You could say that for years, wherever Annie Hall went, she was harassed – or, to put it another way, a strong community presence always follows her.
“If they want them, they can come and get them,” Hall, 89, said.
She was referring to the most recent three-hour community food and clothing donation she directed to the East Side Crime Watch building, 1001 Oak St.
Hall, who was born and raised in Bennettsville, SC, arrived in Youngstown in 1969 after working since 1951 in New York City for Robert Hall Clothes Inc., a Connecticut-based retailer that thrived for about 40 years from the late 1930s. Many warehouse style stores were concentrated in major cities such as New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago.
She also worked for the Belmont Avenue store, which largely sold men’s suits, before the store closed, Hall recalls.
After the Belmont Avenue store closed, Hall moved to Austin, Texas, where she worked for another Robert Hall clothing store. She eventually returned to the Mahoning Valley to be closer to her parents, Hall continued.
While in Bennettsville, she also drove a school bus.
“I have done a lot of things in my life and I thank God for being able to do it,” Hall added.
Hall also spent weekends picking up clothes for Creed the Cleaner, a longtime dry-cleaning and touch-up company in Struthers.
After returning to the area, she began working for Campbell Works of the former Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. in 1971, primarily as a security guard, until it closed in 1977. At that time , she was transferred to Sheet & Tube in Aliquippa. , Pennsylvania, recalls Hall.
In 1984, she started gifting food and clothing – “the same year Pat Ungaro was first elected mayor of Youngstown,” she recalls. Hall was also a supervisor of the East Side and other neighborhood watch groups in the 1980s.
In the last community food giveaway on August 14, Hall and several volunteers turned the building, which used to be a fire station, into a makeshift thrift store where they handed out free bricks of cheese, bags of chicken fillets, canned goods, hot dogs, fruit juices, pre-made bags of fresh vegetables, rice, green peppers, onions, flavored water and cereals.
She and the others also had a variety of dresses, pairs of socks, underwear, and shoes, as well as various items such as a coffee maker and children’s toys.
When asked why she organized the freebies – sometimes up to twice a month, depending on availability – she was ready to respond directly.
“It helps the community,” Hall said, noting that most of the food comes from the Gleaners Food Bank in Youngstown and private donations.
The longtime community activist has also helped the community in a number of other ways, including distributing toys and coats to children and families over the Christmas holidays, as well as participating in neighborhood clean-up events.
Hall’s contributions to the community also include his tireless efforts over the years to continue to fight crime in the city.
To this end, it is part of the annual local national nightlife campaigns, which take place on the first Tuesday in August, and are set up to promote positive relationships between the police, the community and neighbors through activities such as neighborhood parties, barbecues, parades and festivals.
In addition, she partnered with Guy Burney, coordinator and executive director of the Community Initiative to Reduce Collaborative Violence, which is a partnership between law enforcement, social service organizations and the community to reduce gun violence. and related homicides.
Hall said she will pursue her community spirit for as long as her health allows.
“I do a lot and everyone’s like, ‘How are you doing?’ and I say, ‘God is above.’ ”
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