Thank You to “Seeds Of Caring”!

Caring kids from all around Columbus participated in one of Seeds of Caring’s ongoing at home service experiences: Sack Lunches for Hungry and Homeless Neighbors. These kids discussed some of the extra hardships our hungry & homeless neighbors are facing in light of current events, then used their hearts, hands and minds to make a big difference. From their homes, they decorated sack lunches, made PBJ sandwiches and packed much needed meals for The Open Shelter (Columbus, Ohio). Together, they packed over 330 sack lunches!

Thank you to all the families who participated in this at home project, and shared photos of your experience. Together, we are making sure kindness continues to grow in Columbus!

If your family would like to be a part of this, or other at home service experiences, please register to participate here —>

#InThisTogetherOhio #StayHomeOhio #KindisCool

Staying Open In Times Of Crisis

Yes! We are still open for those we serve while utilizing the “Best Business” Practices as set by Gov. DeWine & his administration. We are only allowing a few of those we serve in at one time, practicing social distancing and making sure our facility is clean.

WCMH did a profile of some of our practices to keep our facility safe and clean for those we serve.

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH)- As Ohio prepares for a community outbreak, many of Columbus’ nonprofits are working to help people who are experiencing homelessness or those who are low income.

Over at The Open Shelter, they have upped their sanitation with cleanings twice a day. They are also offering hand sanitizer as soon as people walk in. Not only do people not have access to places to wash their hands, making them more susceptible to the Coronavirus but Shell Mathias worries their immune systems won’t be able to stand up as well as others.“Their bodies are already tired, they are worn down and not getting the rest they should and perhaps not getting the nutrition they need,” said Mathias, who works at The Open Shelter.

You can help us & those we serve during this crucial period by donating HERE-

Lunches Of Love

Thank you to Terri & 3, 4 & 5 year olds from Meadow Park Church of God for making and donating these “Lunches Of Love” that are decorated for St. Patrick’s Day!

We still have open dates if your group would like to help our Sack Lunch Program. We try to have enough to serve 175-200 individuals each weekday. Contact us at 614-222-2885 if you have any questions or would like to sign up for a date!


This Saturday (2/29) 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 LEAP!
Gateway Film Center is located at 1550 North High Street, Columbus, Ohio 43201.

The Open Shelter Needs YOU To Make An Event VERY Special!

The Open Shelter will be holding it’s annual “Hope For The Homeless” Event on Saturday, April 18th from 3pm until 10pm at the Crazee Mule Pub & Grill (6188 Cleveland Ave. Columbus, Ohio  43231).  The event will have 5 LIVE BANDS– New Kitchen Electrics, Pentello, Green 13, One Notch & Alter-Ego– performing though out the day.  It will also feature food & drink specials on Crazee Mule’s delicious food & icy cold beverages.  There will also be a 50/50 raffle and a silent auction hopefully filled with wonderful items!
That is where YOU come in.  We are writing to see if you and/or your business, group, family, school or church would be willing to donate items for our silent auction.  

-Gift cards for area stores, restaurants and experiences.  (Everyone loves a good meal or a spa day!)
-Sports, movie & event tickets.  (Buckeyes, Blue Jackets Tickets would be ideal in raising funds!!!  Also concerts or plays!!)

-Certificates for hotel stays.  (A nice, quiet weekend at a comfy hotel is always on someone’s list.)
-Gift certificates for theme parks or zoos.  (Who doesn’t love summer fun at the Columbus Zoo or Kings Island?)
-Autographed memorabilia from celebrities or sports stars.  (Who wouldn’t love an autographed football from a Buckeyes Legend or a signed stick from a Blue Jackets fan favorite?)
-Gift certificates for activities like kayaking, skiing or even, yikes, bungee jumping.

The possibilities are limitless.  Gift Baskets are also VERY APPEALING when it comes to Silent Auctions.  If you, your business, family, group, school or church would like to put a gift basket or two together for our event, we would greatly appreciate it.
All of this is to continue our mission of “Staying Behind With Those Left Behind”.  Since 1983, The Open Shelter has been able to help the most vulnerable in our community; homeless and marginally housed men, women and children.  This is possible only because of YOUR SUPPORT.  Feel free to contact Harry Yeprem Jr. at 614-222-2885 / 614-562-2169 or via return email if you have any questions or if you would like to help with our event.  

Thank You.

It Will Be A “Purrfect” Time At HOOT!

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.

Rest In Peace Bill Casto

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.

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Ho Ho Hope For The Holidays 2019 Was A Success!

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!!!

Staying Behind With Those Left Behind; Mark C.

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 information.”

“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.”

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“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 move on.”

“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.”