Pink Ribbon Girls to deliver more meals during coronavirus pandemic

The Pink Ribbon Girls provide free, direct service to those with breast and women’s reproductive cancers, including healthy meals for the family. Now, with the coronavirus outbreak wreaking havoc on the region, the nonprofit has received significant financial assistance to continue its mission.

MORE: CORONARIVUS: Complete coverage from the Dayton Daily News

Heather Salazar, the CEO and president of the Pink Ribbon Girls, told the Dayton Daily News that the Gala of Hope Foundation, which was founded in 2014 to serve the region as a financial resource for cancer patients, treatment and local research, has awarded the group a $16,000 grant to increase meals to those who suffer from food insecurity as the COVID-19 crisis rises.

“We are definitely living in unprecedented times. I can’t imagine being a sick momma fighting cancer and now dealing with the stress of this pandemic,” Salazar explained. “Many of them are worried about getting to treatment, feeding their kids now that they are home two extra meals per day, and keeping up with their online schoolwork.”

She noted that the Pink Ribbon Girls family is something special and the entire community holds the organization together.

“Dayton has proven over the last year we are resilient. We are loving. We are community,” Salazar said. “I long for the summer days of community with our survivors, donors and PRG family all being together. We can’t wait to support our businesses that have supported PRG from the beginning.”

MORE: Coronavirus: Foodbank drive-thru pantry to open at 1, line-up starts at 12:45

The financial gift from the foundation will allow Pink Ribbon Girls to increase the number of meals served for its clients battling breast or gynecological cancer and suffering from food insecurity from three meals a week per family member to five meals a week per family member.

In 2019, the organization identified that 47% of its clients suffer from food insecurity. So Pink Ribbon Girls plans to increase the volume of meals starting in April, Salazar said.

“We are so thankful for our friends at Gala Of Hope,” she said. “We reached out to them immediately to partner with us to ensure any of our of clients needing extra meals would receive them.”

MORE: Some banks allow payment deferral as customers navigate COVID-19

The grant is important due to the significant number of families in the Dayton area who are battling food insecurity in addition to fighting cancer, she said, as they also are being adversely affected by the economic and potential health consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Last week, I admit, I was scared and overwhelmed,” Salazar said. “My biggest fear is not being able to serve everyone who needs our services.”

She then received a message via social media that was a game-changer.

“I received a text from Jeff Brock, executive director for Gala of Hope, on Friday, saying their board approved a grant for the meals,” Salazar said. “Tears streamed down my face. It gave me hope and confidence.”

Barbara Mills, co-founder of Gala of Hope, said simply about the grant: “This is how God intended us to live, caring for each other. We are better together.”

MORE: Coronavirus: Dayton church launching ‘Worship on Wheels’ effort Sunday

If you are interested in gifting a meal to one of PRG's clients by donating $10, visit

About the Author