Our Mission Statement

The Open Shelter is an Advocacy Center & Day Services Shelter for homeless and marginally-housed people in Central Ohio. We provide crucial needs directly to those in crisis. Coordinated, supportive services are also provided, directly or by referral. By providing these tools, we help those who are the most vulnerable in our community.

Memorial Arrangements For Kent R. Beittel

Snyder Funeral Homes Obituaries

Kent R. Beittel

December 02, 1947 ‒ October 16, 2020

Columbus, Ohio
Formerly of Delaware, Ohio

Send Flowers
In Kent ‘s Memory

Service Details:


Snyder-Rodman Funeral Center
101 Valleyside Dr. at West William Street , Delaware Ohio , 43015

Saturday, Nov 07, 2020 from 1:00pm – 4:00pm


Broad Street United Methodist Church

Sunday, Nov 08, 2020 at 3:00pm


Kent R. Beittel, born December 2, 1947, went with God, the Great Physician, on October 16, 2020 and reunited with his loving wife Mary.

He is the loved son of Dale and Barbara (Kolb) Beittel and the extraordinary patriarch of the Beittel clan. On June 12, 1988, he married the love of his life Mary Casbarro. With her by his side, he poured his immense well-spring of love into their children; Sue (Mike) Poulton, Dee Pendleton, Don (Stacy) Miller, Shanti (Michael) Kelly, Brian (Laura) Powell. He also embraced and cherished their nine grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

Kent and his wife served for over three decades as the leadership partnership which created and managed The Open Shelter in Columbus. He had blessed the lives of thousands of our homeless neighbors with his gifts of insight, wisdom, resources, and genuine respect and compassion. He has enriched the lives of countless volunteers with whom he joined and guided in opportunities for coordinated service and sharing. He has been the ally of all who genuinely cared about community stability and inclusion, and a champion for all who needed an ally.

Kent graduated from Albion College in 1972 with a B.A. in Philosophy and later went on to earn two more degrees from the Methodist Theological School in Delaware. In addition to his work at the shelter, he is also known for his work with the Delaware City-County Health Department and the Delaware County United Way as well as the establishment of the Open Door Clinic and the Huckleberry House. In 2017, Kent and his wife Mary were awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Columbus Coalition For the Homeless for their unending commitment to homeless persons despite monumental political and economic obstacles.

Kent’s faith in God and love for people is evidenced, not only by his commitment of the guests of The Open Shelter and his family, but also by his dedication to Broad Street United Methodist Church.

As he begins this new aspect of life, joining with those who love him and have gone on before him, he is remembered, respected, and loved by his brothers Brooks (Georgina) and Todd (Leesa) Beittel and sister Elizabeth Beittel, many cousins, nieces, and nephews, and thousands from the streets.

All aspects of this life, so worth celebrating, are grounded in his amazing clarity of faith and depth of love with which he has blessed so many.

The family asks that community members and friends join them at the Snyder-Rodman Funeral Center, 101 Valleyside Drive at W. William Street, Delaware, OH 43015 from 1:00 – 4:00 pm on November 7, 2020 for a period of reflection.

A  private, family only memorial celebration service will be held Sunday, November 8, 2020 at 3:00 pm at Broad Street United Methodist Church. The celebration of life service will be live streamed for anyone that would like to watch at www.broadstreetumc.net, the churches Facebook page, and also on YouTube.

His children have asked that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made in his name to The Open Shelter, 61 E. Mound St., Columbus, Ohio 43215, or the Kent & Mary Beittel Do No Harm program for single parents, 61 E Mound Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215

To share a fond memory of Kent or to leave a message of condolence, please visit www.snyderfuneralhomes.com

The Snyder-Rodman Funeral Center in Delaware is honored to be serving the Beittel Family during this time.

Rest In Peace Kent R. Beittel

We are heartbroken to report that our Director Emeritus, Kent R. Beittel, passed away Friday evening (10/16) at the age of 72.

His efforts, passion and accomplishments in helping the homeless & marginally housed were unmatched and his legacy will live on at The Open Shelter.

Kent’s family and friends are in our hearts, thoughts and prayers.

Carrying On But Never Forgetting

Thank you to Rita Price of The Columbus Dispatch for sharing some time with our Founder & Director Emeritus Kent R. Beittel. 

Kent is going through some rough times right now but he will always be the spirit that carries our mission of “staying behind with those left behind”. YOUR support keeps it going for those we serve.

You can read Rita’s article sharing Kent’s reflections by clicking the link below. 

Continue Kent’s legacy of helping the marginalized in our community by donating HERE- Donate – The Open Shelter, Inc.  

Thank you for keeping The Open Shelter OPEN.

Kent Beittel Receives 2020 Upper Arlington Distinguished Alumnus Award

Kent Beittel has received the 2020 Upper Arlington Alumni Association Distinguished Alumnus Award for his years of service as The Open Shelter’s Director.

In announcing the award, the UAAA stated that: “For nearly 36 years the shelter has provided shelter, meals, medical services, clothing and other services to hundreds of thousands of persons in need. His dedication to service, advocacy and fundraising has not been an easy path, and Kent has overcome many obstacles over the years including social service bureaucracies and funding challenges. But he has always been adamant about accepting everyone, no questions asked. The UAAA is proud to present the 2020 Award to Kent.”

Kent attended Upper Arlington High School through his junior year while his father served as a minister at The Riverside Methodist Church.

The award, made only 22 times in the last 27 years, is presented to a graduate (or group of alumni) who has demonstrated excellence in one or more of the following areas: Leadership • Innovation • Service • Professional or Personal Accomplishments.

The link below is to a copy of the nomination on which the award was made. The nomination includes a history of Kent and Mary’s work at the shelter, photos of him, and four Columbus Dispatch and Columbus Monthly articles reprinted with the permission of the Dispatch, the Columbus Monthly, and Gannett Co., Inc.

2020 “By The Numbers”…..So Far.

As of July 31st of this year, we have assisted 1864 homeless & marginally housed men, women and children.

34,965 sack lunches have been given out.
11,591 food boxes & “to-go” meals have been distributed.
614 have been assisted with camping equipment.
3,763 instances of clothing assistance has been provided.
58 individuals are in our Payeeship Program, which helps with money management.
464 hygiene kits have been passed out.

All of this is because supporters like YOU “stay behind with those left behind” through us.
Thank you.

Thank You Patrick, Aggie, Maggie, Don & Seeds Of Caring!

We and those we serve are so proud and thankful for the wonderful efforts of the Barrington Family— Patrick, his sister Aggie and parents Maggie & Don and the Seeds Of Caring families in providing sack lunches for the most vulnerable in our community during the pandemic.

Through their efforts over 10,000 sack lunches filled with a sandwich, fruit, chips, a bottle of water and a personal note have been provided. But it is much more than that. Find out how much more thanks to this profile of their efforts from 10TV and Bryant Somerville.

Thank YOU For Giving BIG For The Open Shelter!

Dear Friend(s):

We asked and you delivered!  We asked you to give BIG for The Open Shelter & those we serve during The BIG Give….and YOU DID!  Nearly $20,000 was raised during The BIG Give thanks to YOUR support and the bonus pool provided by The Columbus Foundation & it’s partners.

We and those we serve are overwhelmed and grateful for your generosity during these trying times.  Because of this support, we are able to continue our mission of “Staying Behind With Those Left Behind”.  Because of your support, we are able to stay OPEN.  Because of your support, we are able to continue providing crucial needs and services for the most vulnerable in our community — homeless and marginally housed men, women and children.  Since 1983, The Open Shelter has been there because of your support.  We are truly a grassroots agency….everything we do for those we serve is because of your support.  Thank you for making that possible.

Give BIG For The Open Shelter Until 6pm On Thursday 6/11!

Dear Friend(s):

As you definitely know, we are going through some unprecedented times currently.  Things have never been more uncertain or unclear than they are now. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our lives in so many ways.  Imagine on top of that being uncertain or unclear where your next meal, next pair of socks or even your next trip to the restroom will be.  The Open Shelter exists to make sure the most vulnerable in our community; homeless and marginally housed men, women and children, have a place to turn to during this uncertain time.  The Open Shelter exists because YOU have decided to continue our mission of “Staying Behind With Those Left Behind”.  

NOW more than ever, YOU have an opportunity to support that mission in a BIG way during The BIG Give thanks to our partners at The Columbus Foundation.  Starting on Wednesday, June 10th at 10 am through Thursday, June 11th at 6 pm, your donation to The Open Shelter at https://columbusfoundation.org/the-giving-store/nonprofit-directory-listing/OpenShelterInc/458 will be boosted, thanks to a $1 million+ Bonus Pool provided by The Columbus Foundation and corporate and community partners! Further, all credit card fees will be covered by the Foundation, so 100 percent of your donations go to our mission of “Staying Behind With Those Left Behind”.  We hope you will join us in this extraordinary opportunity to rally together because we are truly better, together.

Give securely using Apple Pay, Google Pay, PayPal, or a major U.S. credit card with a minimum gift of $20. All credit card fees are covered during The BIG Give, and each gift will be boosted on a pro rata basis thanks to a $1 MILLION+ BONUS POOL.  Donate $20 or more and share your experience with #biggive on social media! Be sure to tag The Columbus Foundation and The Open Shelter.You can also Text2Connect to support The Open Shelter during The BIG Give!  Text 458 to (614) 230-0347 & Text2Connect will send you a link to complete The BIG Give transaction to support us and those we serve.

The Open Shelter is a grassroots agency.  Anything we provide for the most vulnerable in our community is because of YOUR support.  YOU are the reason we exist.  Please take advantage of this wonderful opportunity to amplify YOUR support and make it BIG.  Thank You.

Good News From The Open Shelter!

#GivingTuesdayNOW Was A Success!!
We asked…and you answered the call!
Because of YOU, nearly $3500 was raised on #GivingTuesdayNOW for The Open Shelter and those we serve.
We are grateful & blessed because of your support.

Thank YOU For Making Mother’s Day A Reality!

It wasn’t as fancy as in past years…but thanks to your donations, we were still able to put smiles on the faces of mom’s we serve (and their children!). We thank you!

YOUR Donations make this possible!  
YOU can continue our mission of “Staying Behind With Those Left Behind” by donating HERE- http://theopenshelter.org/donate/

61 E. Mound St.
Columbus OH  43215-5121

The Open Shelter Needs Your Help For #GivingTuesdayNOW

The Open Shelter is honored to be a part of #GivingTuesdayNOW, a global day of giving and unity.  As you know, we are living in uncertain times.  The pandemic which currently grips our nation and world has changed our day-to-day routine.  Things such as meeting with friends and family have been put on pause for the time being. 

But thanks to YOU and YOUR Support, we are still OPEN and able to “Stay Behind With Those Left Behind.”  We have reduced hours and are practicing social distancing (such as only allowing six individuals in at a time) to help “flatten the curve” but are still seeing the same amount and in many cases, more men, women and children than before the pandemic hit.

During the first four months of 2020, The Open Shelter has helped 1,510 men, women and children with food, clothing and hygiene items needed to survive.  17,816 sack lunches have been given out, 6,323 ‘to-go’ meals have been distributed in addition to 2,407 instances of clothing assistance and 336 hygiene kits passed out.  Even with COVID-19 and our main focus being on basic needs for those we serve, we have been able to assist 60 payees with money management. 

It is because of YOU that Amanda is able to get food for herself and her children to last through the week.  It is because of YOU that we are able to help Mark get off the streets and into housing.  It is because of YOU that we are able to help Kelly with clothing and hygiene items to stay clean and healthy, especially NOW.  The Open Shelter receives no government funding of any sort.  We are truly “grassroots” and exist solely because of YOU.

In order for The Open Shelter to “Stay Behind With Those Left Behind”, we still need your support.  #GivingTuesdayNOW is a perfect opportunity to show that you still support our mission of helping the most vulnerable in our community — homeless and marginally housed men, women and children especially during this crucial time.  Please DONATE today at this link–  http://theopenshelter.org/donate/
For nearly 37 years, The Open Shelter has been there for those who have found nowhere to turn.  Please keep that HOPE & HELP alive.  Thank You.

61 E. Mound St.
Columbus OH  43215-5121