The Open Shelter

Assisting Anthony

Anthony is a guest we have assisted for a long time. He also has a history with us since our time on State St. But no matter his struggles, we have been there for him. And he has been there for us, providing a pizza party for those we serve, which he will share with you in this article.

“I did the pizza party for everyone (almost 200 men, women, and children) to give back to the people. It’s about not forgetting where you come from. A lot of people forget where they come from. A lot of people don’t even try to give back.”

“It has been many years. I came to The Open Shelter at a pretty early age. I was around 17 years old. At that time, I was trying to be grown, trying to get my own place. I had run away from my aunt since she had custody of me. Someone told me to go down to The Open Shelter. I had never heard of it before. They told me it was on State St. I decided to go down there. I lied about my age. I ended up staying there. Eventually my aunt came down there looking for me. Children’s Services came looking for me as well. They took me back to my aunt. One of the staff members explained to me that I was too young to be there. You had to be 18 years of age.”

“Born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, originally from Sullivant Gardens on the west side. My childhood was abusive. My mother was very abusive to me. I was taken away by Children’s Services. I had been to every group home here in Columbus and even a few places out of Columbus. I even was in Ironton, Ohio for awhile. They put me there because I was considered a high risk runaway. I used to runaway from everywhere they put me. I was put in a foster home once. I actually ran from there, also. I couldn’t run when I was in Ironton, Ohio. I was too far away from everything. I didn’t know the area.”

“Eventually I got used to bouncing around after being in so many group homes. I became accustomed to it. Growing up, I wanted to become a basketball player and I thought about becoming a chef. My grades were good in school. I had to leave in 12th grade because of living issues. Children’s Services had released me at age 18. So I really had nowhere to live or stay. That’s when I found my way back to The Open Shelter.”

“I ran away from my aunt because she used to abuse me physically as did my mother. My mother was on drugs and alcohol at that time. It was really hard for me. I tried to get my mother help. I really didn’t want to be taken away from my mother because I loved her. When she became more abusive, that is when they took me away.”

“I never had my father there for me. He was in prison and also on drugs and alcohol. I really wasn’t raised by my family. I was really raised by Children’s Services. I never really did drugs or alcohol. I tried some but I never been addicted to it. I thank God for that. It was the Grace of God.”

“The first time, I was a little bit nervous. It was a place I didn’t know. When I returned to The Open Shelter, I was on probation for carrying a concealed weapon. I was running the streets, trying to take care of myself. I had nobody to take care of me.”

“I had to do things I didn’t want to do. For instance, sleeping outside and on the streets. But, I was always a survivor. I knew how to do it. Being outside, I would wake up every morning and pray to God and ask what was next. Scrambling to find housing. I would work with the housing coordinators. It was hard. I knew how to carry myself when I was on the streets. I didn’t tolerate a lot of stuff. I slept outside by myself. I wanted peace. I might have had an altercation here and there. But for the most part, I stayed to myself.”

“They have helped me step by step. They taught me I had to learn how to take care of myself before anyone else. They weren’t going to do everything for you. They gave me the resources for help, but I have to go out there and get them. I had to get out there and do it. I want to give special thanks to Bishop Jerry Pierce (former employee of The Open Shelter), he didn’t know me much but he inspired me and took me under his wing when he worked for The Open Shelter. He taught me a lot about being out on the streets. He taught me about what I should do and what I should not do. I thank God for the people who have helped me at The Open Shelter. They have truly been a blessing.”

“They have helped me out with my basic needs. It may not have been what I wanted, but I got what I needed. Help with housing. There were days in the past when I had to sleep inside The Open Shelter. I have taken showers at The Open Shelter. They fed me when I was hungry. They have met my needs for me.”

“I was married about a year ago. I had lost everything within one year. I had a car and I was in an accident and it got totaled. I was able to get another car and was working for Donatos. I worked for them about 5 years. I was sleeping in my car and wondering where do I go from here. All I could think about was The Open Shelter. I eventually came back. And they helped me again. They told me who to call and who to go to. So, I did that. And now, I am on a housing list. I had to quit working because of ulcers in my feet from diabetes. I am not working right now and I have filed for Social Security. I have been living with my Pastor.”

“I am working to become a Bishop. I just ordered my clergy items. I have to do my trial sermon and then I will be taken as a Bishop. This is for Divine Destiny 2 Christian Center. Hopefully I can start my own church, it will be called New International Glory Center.”

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