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.”