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.”