The Open Shelter

Asking Anne

Anne is a long-time supporter of The Open Shelter who also volunteers for us and those we serve faithfully. Anne shared with us a little bit about herself and what The Open Shelter means to her.

“I am from the east side of Columbus. I grew up in south Bexley. I went away to college briefly. I went to school in the south and I realized I was a yankee, and had to come back to the north. I didn’t know I was a yankee till I went there. Since 1982, I have lived in Columbus and since 1990, I have lived in the Eastmoor neighborhood which is on the east side between Bexley and James Rd. I raised my family there. I went to Mt. Carmel School of Nursing, that is where I graduated from. I have been a nurse for 39 years now. I went to the old Mt. Carmel and worked at the hospital itself for 15 years on the west side. I then worked for the urology group for Mt. Carmel for 5 years. I then got into outpatient surgery and worked at OSU. So now, I am mostly retired as a nurse.”

“I started following The Open Shelter because when I worked at Mt. Carmel West in the surgical intensive care unit during the mid to late 80s, The Open Shelter was located on State St. Another nurse, who also was named Anne, we worked night shift and we would get to talking. She was like, ‘there’s this homeless shelter right near here, you know…we should do something for them.’ So this group of nurses and one anesthesiologist, he was from India and he had grown up very poor, so he wanted to help us. He would give us $20 a month. One person would buy bread. One person would buy meat. One person would buy the cheese. One person would buy the bags. And once a month, we would get together at someone’s house and put sack lunches together and then drop them off at The Open Shelter. There was five of us in the core group. We had fun with it. One person would serve a lunch if it was at there house. It was our little coffee klatch but it was for The Open Shelter.”

“So having been raised to be generous to others, and to respect people of all walks of life, I just kept staying involved. I followed The Open Shelter from State St., to Trinity Episcopal Church, to St. Johns, and then to here, on Parsons Ave. I always said that when I retired from nursing, I wanted to come here and volunteer in person. But then COVID hit, and then my grown children were not thrilled that I would be in a closed building with a lot of people, so they said to just wait a little bit. I have been volunteering for about a year now. I always volunteer on Thursdays and I do what Solomon (Dean, Deputy Director of Day Services) tells me to do, lol.”

“Working with Solomon is great. He is great. He has a good sense of humor. He keeps people in line in a nice way. If he needs to, he can be a little stern. I appreciate that, because I was told I was a mean mother. (She says with a laugh) My children are now functional members of society, so that’s good! Solomon is great and easy going with me. I make a lot of sandwiches for the sack lunches. I like to clean the kitchen and go through the refrigerators, and straighten things up, clean things up. I clear tables, greet people, pick up trash, whatever I feel like needs to be done.”

“I finally got to help with the Christmas event this past year. That was a first because I wasn’t working. I always wanted to do that because in the past, if I could get the day off, The Open Shelter already had enough help signed up. That was fun to be able to be involved with that. I handed out socks and people were very appreciative for the socks. That is always a necessary item along with underwear and t-shirts. It is interesting that myself and Sheli (Mathias, Director) grew up in the same neighborhood. We got to talking one day, and she asked me where I grew up since the stuff I mentioned seemed so familiar to her. I told her I grew up in South Bexley and she did too! It turns out her older sister was in my class and I used to spend the night at her house and my little sister was in her class and she would spend the night at my house. We talked about growing up. It’s a small world.”

“The building is great. It is a lot easier to drop off donations here! At Trinity and sometimes at St. Johns, parking to drop something off could be a hassle. It’s nice here because you can pull up right behind the building, knock on the door and someone will come get your donation. Kent and Mary Beittel (Founding Directors), their original thing was they wouldn’t turn anyone away, when people used to sleep at the State St. location. If you were drunk, they wouldn’t send you to Maryhaven and try to fix you in one night; if you can behave, you can stay. I liked that philosophy. They knew people had problems, they knew people had stuff going on. They didn’t tell people to go get help and come back. You can just come. That’s the beauty of The Open Shelter.”

“I would suggest going to first and hit the donate button! That is what I do. I do a monthly donation. Whatever you can do. But it is super easy and through PayPal. It is so secure and nice. For me, I come in on Thursdays. If you call 614-222-2885, and ask for Solomon, he will schedule a time and date for you. I kind of make my own time up since I have elderly parents. I usually help from 10am until 2ish. I try to bring stuff for the kitchen, or I go through my husband’s clothes and bring things he doesn’t wear anymore. Monetary donations are great and items that are clean and are things you would still like, such as new socks, new underwear, new t-shirts, all of that is well received.”

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