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.
This Saturday (1/25) at 10:00 AM, Gateway Film Center provides stimulating activities for families, including games, story readings, Dance Cam where kids and their families can watch themselves bust a move on the big screen and more. At 11:00 AM, enjoy live music by The Shazzbots! and kid-friendly short films. All presentations in the HOOT Family Film Series at the Gateway Film Center are “G” rated and admission to the series is free with a suggested donation of a canned good to benefit The Open Shelter. This month’s theme is CATS! Gateway Film Center is located at 1550 North High Street, Columbus, Ohio 43201.
On Friday, January 3rd we got the terrible news that Bill Casto had died from severe brain trauma resulting from a fall the night before. The news was devastating to all of us at The Open Shelter as it was to a multitude of people in Columbus, for Bill Casto was one of the most significant warriors in the last 40 years in fighting and serving on behalf of marginal people in our community.
Bill had long been associated with The Open Shelter and for many years as a member of our Board, most recently as our Board Chairman. He was, as Bishop Joseph Sprague said in his sermon at Bill’s celebration of live, a model of fundamental goodness. He touched the lives of all he met with his kindness and goodness.
Even in death, Bill continues to support The Open Shelter in it’s work with homeless and marginally housed persons in our community by suggesting in lieu of flowers, people can give to The Kent and Mary Beittel Endowment Fund For The Open Shelter via The Columbus Foundation, 1234 E. Broad St., Columbus OH 43205.
Bill will be sorely missed by all of us but his contribution to those in need and those of us who support efforts to make a difference among them will last forever.
This Holiday Season we were once again blessed to hold “Ho Ho Hope For The Holidays”! Nearly 300 homeless and marginally housed men, women and children were treated to a wonderful meal, gift bags, toys and Santa!
Thank you to St. Andrews Church, Broad Street United Methodist Church, volunteers from CMHA & Nationwide, Veronica Garrity, Samantha Babcock & friends, Santa Richard Knapp, Allie’s Original Photography, Boy Scout Troop 298, St. Agatha Church, Shiseido, Stone Village Church, Dave & Melynda Snider and so many, many more! We could not do this without YOU!!!
Mark C. is someone we have been helping for many, many years. Ever since we were located on 370 W. State St., we have had a connection with Mark. We sat down with Mark to talk to him about his struggles and how The Open Shelter has helped him.
“I was put out by a
family member about 30 years ago. Lack
of work, experience and knowledge. I had
no money to pay, so I couldn’t stay. A
cousin dropped me off at The Open Shelter. When I got there, it was more than
what I expected. Once I walked through
the doors and saw how big the facility was, I was afraid and overwhelmed. First time being in a different atmosphere.”
“I was welcomed by a
staff member. I had to decide if I
wanted to stay. It was clean, neat and
it went the way it was supposed to go.
They gave me three square meals a day.
It was a place where you could use the restroom and take a shower. It was also a place where you could relax
your mind. But you had many people
there, so you had to deal with different issues.”
“Kent & Mary Beittel
told me, ‘You are here to get your life together. You can do it the right way or you can do it
the wrong way.’ There was a lot of
positive feedback. Staff were there to
encourage you and motivate you. They
would help you with finding a job, getting clean clothes and providing helpful
“Not as many people knew
about The Open Shelter back then as they do now on the streets. People are struggling more now. People are less confident today. People have less faith in themselves and each
other right now. By being a Baptist, I
have studied people. You didn’t have the
access to information that you do now.
You had to do more digging back then.
You had to do some homework.”
“The Open Shelter has
blessed me. I can come here and feel the
love and respect from staff members. The
resources they have; if you need to make a phone call to your job, clothes,
meals and a place to relax your mind.”
“It’s an up and down battle sometimes with your confidence. You have some people who come in with good attitudes and some who come in with bad attitudes. Everyone though tries to work together.”
“Solomon (Deputy Director
of Day Services) from the beginning has been the same. He gives you good advice, he will go out of
his way to help a person out. The sad
part is, some people take advantage of it.
Sheli (COO) has helped me out many times with things such as housing,
food, diabetes and medical information.”
“My mother died when I
was 4 years old. I am now 58. I don’t know who my father is. So I was raised in a foster home where I was
abused. Whippings, like slavery
whippings. I was beaten with every
object you can think of. Neighborhood
and school kids did the same thing to me.
I was like a stallion horse then
though. Strong and determined. Now I have
no strength, no will, no love for myself.
Elders say never remind yourself about the past; always forget it and
“Every day I am being
told what I can do, what I can’t do; where I can go and where I can’t go; who I
can talk to and who I can’t talk to. I
feel like I am in bondage. That’s why
when I come to The Open Shelter it is a relief.
There is some hope here. I can
laugh and joke with the people. I can
laugh and giggle with the staff. When I
leave, I feel blessed. People on the
streets talk highly about The Open Shelter.”
“When individual men and
women want to help someone who is in need, they usually take on more than they
can handle. A lot of times those issues
can be a burden. We try to do as much as
we can to relieve that burden. But then
we carry that burden home with us. Then
we have no idea how to release it unless we call the Lord and get on our knees
and pray about it. Sometimes I am afraid
to ask for help because I know what the response will be. You might get a quick answer to brush you off
or you might just get cussed out.”
“I am a diabetic. I have kidney disease and arthritis. I struggle with stress and depression. I take it one day at a time. Thank the Good Lord for each day and make the
best of it. I have tried treatment
centers only to find people who do the same thing I do. I wasn’t going there to clean up. The mindset was to do it to please the person
who encouraged me to go there. I wasn’t
doing it for myself. I made my own
decision to leave drugs and alcohol alone.
I did it so much as a teenager by the time I hit my 40s & 50s, it
was not important anymore. It was a way
to connect with other people, entertainment.
I got tired of it. It was a quick
high. Once it was over with, life was
the same as when you had started. So you
are not benefitting.”
“I have a bucket
list. I would like to go to Minnesota
and find all 10,000 lakes. Get a motor home
and go camping. Learn how to swim and
rock climb. Hopefully within five to ten
years. I am about to move into a
one-bedroom apartment that is furnished.
My rent should be between $265-275.
The Open Shelter encouraged me to fill out the application. I am on full disability. With my health issues and stress &
depression, I am unable to work.”
“I would encourage anyone
thinking about it to help The Open Shelter.
You won’t regret it. They are a
blessing to Columbus, Ohio. Kent &
Mary, when they first started it; they gave all of their time, faith and belief
into it. If I had the money to donate, I
would donate to them too. If it wasn’t
for them, I wouldn’t know where I would be at.
I thank them from the bottom of my heart.”
YOU DID IT! YOU MET THE NOVEMBER MATCH CHALLENGE! Nearly $4000 was raised in two weeks thanks to YOU, our loyal supporters! This means the donor who issued the challenge will donate $1500! So nearly $5500 raised through social media & email. That is FANTASTIC and will help our mission of staying behind with those left behind. Thank you.
A loyal donor is willing to
donate $1500 to us….but with one condition!
He wants YOU to step up and match his donation! The winter wind and cold is here and we need
YOU to step up and meet the challenge!
Help our most vulnerable
neighbors; homeless and marginally housed men, women and children.
YOU have two weeks to meet the
challenge! We will accept donations for
the match challenge up through November 22nd.
You can donate HERE- http://theopenshelter.org/donate/. If you donate online, please type MATCH on the “add a note” line. If you mail in a credit card donation, please write MATCH on the page you mail in. If you mail in a check, please write MATCH on the memo line. Thank You for YOUR Support!
THE OPEN SHELTER, INC. 61 E. Mound St. Columbus OH 43215-5121 614-222-2885 www.TheOpenShelter.org
This Saturday (10/26) at 10:00 AM, Gateway Film Center provides stimulating activities for families, including games, story readings, Dance Cam where kids and their families can watch themselves bust a move on the big screen and more. At 11:00 AM, enjoy live music by The Shazzbots! and kid-friendly short films. All presentations in the HOOT Family Film Series at the Gateway Film Center are “G” rated and admission to the series is free with a suggested donation of a canned good to benefit The Open Shelter. This month’s theme is HALLOWEEN! Gateway Film Center is located at 1550 North High Street, Columbus, Ohio 43201.
Thank you to Isner Insurance Associates for their “Socktober” drive!!!!
Isner Insurance Associates will be collecting donations of sock pairs to deliver to The Open Shelter . They will match the first 300 pairs of socks donated!
Why donate socks?
Socks are among the least donated clothing items to shelters. This means that socks are a huge need!
When will Isner Insurance collect socks?
Isner Insurance Associates will be collecting socks all October long and will deliver them to The Open Shelter in early November. You can drop off sock pairs at Isner Insurance’s office during their business hours.
This Saturday (9/28) at 10:00 AM, Gateway Film Center provides stimulating activities for families, including games, story readings, Dance Cam where kids and their families can watch themselves bust a move on the big screen and more. At 11:00 AM, enjoy live music by The Shazzbots! and kid-friendly short films. All presentations in the HOOT Family Film Series at the Gateway Film Center are “G” rated and admission to the series is free with a suggested donation of a canned good to benefit The Open Shelter. This month’s theme is The Moon! Gateway Film Center is located at 1550 North High Street, Columbus, Ohio 43201.