What began as a service to help homeless soldiers suffering from PTSD who had trouble adjusting to civilian life after returning from World War II, has evolved into so much more.
Today, the Cherry Street Mission serves nearly 200 meals three times a day as well as provides a clean, safe place to sleep. In exchange, the guests are expected to help in the kitchen or laundry area to “pay” for their meals.
Additionally, the Cherry Street Mission provides its guests with clothing, assistance with job training, referrals for social and health services that they may need, and other types of assistance, according to Andrea Casteel, the organization’s donor relations coordinator, who talked to Rotarians on June 1.
When the shelter opened 75 years ago, it focused on serving Toledo and Lucas County residents. But, that too has changed, Casteel explained.
“We now serve rural counties like Fulton County and areas outside the central city, where the Cherry Street Mission is located, because poverty occurs all across northwest Ohio,” Casteel said. In fact, area churches volunteer at the mission.
The Cherry Street Mission, the largest homeless shelter in northwest Ohio, serves guests who range in age from 18 to 83. They stay at the Mission an average of 49 days. Its doors are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Andrea Casteel, the mission’s donor relations coordinator, was the presenter and the program was arranged by Jodi Herman (right in the photo).