TOLEDO, OH—Classes start up March 17 for our newest ministry initiative—Catholic Charities Opportunity Kitchen, a pilot workforce development project launched at Helping Hands of St. Louis last May of 2019.
The goal is to change lives by providing a skill-driven, hands-on immersion culinary program to at-risk, economically disadvantaged individuals through focused culinary coursework in the classroom and kitchen. Emphasis is placed on the life skills training needed to work with competence and professionalism in all aspects of the food service industry and beyond for a sustainable and successful career.
Catholic Charities Opportunity Kitchen is an intense, fast-paced, 80-hour culinary “boot camp,” taught by Chef Saundra Irvine. To graduate, students must complete 18, half-day classes over a 10-week period. The program combines personal and video instruction with hands-on learning in commercial kitchens.
Attendees learn culinary techniques and best practices from leaders in the food service industry. Students are tested and attain Health Department ServSafe® certification.
This summer, three of the young men enrolled in the pilot program graduated—one a former heroin addict, another incarcerated for 12 years. All three are now gainfully employed. This fall, five more men graduated from Catholic Charities Opportunity Kitchen.
“These young men learned a lot more than simple cooking skills,” says Charles Rittenhouse, Catholic Charities Board President, who spoke with each graduate after the ceremony. “This program is truly transformative. These graduates are using all they learned as a stepping off point for long-term success. They are thinking about their future and not simply what they need to do to survive. Their lives have become better for it.”
“We received unprecedented information, skills and tools that will help us with any person or situation we ever will come in contact with,” says Jermaine, who graduated from Catholic Charities Opportunity Kitchen last summer. “This was us becoming a family, building a lasting legacy that I hope everyone will have the opportunity to experience and learn.”
Community support for the program is strong, with start-up funding coming from the Toledo Community Foundation and additional support from the Anderson Foundation and Caresource Foundation.
Sponsors include Burkett Restaurant Equipment and Supplies, Calphalon, Meijer, Renaissance Hotels, Sarnie’s Café, Starbucks, TFS Results Company and Wersell’s Bike Shop.
Catholic Charities is looking for more community partners to sustain this new initiative. Potential funders are asked to contact Rodney Schuster, Executive Director of Catholic Charities Diocese of Toledo, directly, at 419. 214.4943 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Individuals interested in enrolling in the program are asked to contact Byron Wynn, Catholic Charities Volunteer Coordinator, at 419.214.4950 or email email@example.com.
We invite you to take a few minutes to watch this video and learn more about the impact of Catholic Charities Opportunity Kitchen.
OREGON, OH—The Meijer Simply Gives Winter Campaign runs NOW through Saturday, Jan 4, 2020. Helping Hands of St. Louis, a ministry of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Toledo benefits from your participation! Your donations enable Helping Hands of St. Louis to provide for thousands of hungry men, women and children!
DOUBLE MATCH DAYS are Tuesday, Dec. 3 and Friday, Dec. 13! Each $10 Simply Give donation card purchased at the Oregon Meijer, 1725 S. Wheeling Street, Oregon, OH, on #GivingTuesday, Dec. 3 and Friday, Dec. 13 becomes a $30 donation thanks to Meijer’s DOUBLE MATCH of your Simply Give donations on those days!
“Please help us fulfill our mission of helping feed the hungry people who come to us for a meal by purchasing a food donation card during your next shopping trip to the Oregon Mejier,” says Sue Shrewsbery, Director of Helping Hands of St. Louis. “Tell your family members, friends, neighbors and co-workers, because every dollar makes a difference!” Your generous donations are converted into gift cards used to purchase food items for our food pantry and hot-meal programs.
A HUGE thank you to Meijer and all who support this program! Meijer began offering Double Match Days in 2012 to highlight our commitment to feeding hungry families in the communities we serve across the Midwest. As a result, the Simply Give program continues to set year-over-year records, bringing its current total to over $50 million.
OREGON, OH—Thank you all who supported Meijer’s Spring Simply Give campaign! Helping Hands of Saint Louis received $4,730 in gift cards that will be used to purchase much needed food items for our Helping Hands Food Pantry. Last year, Meijer’s Simply Give program provided a record $8.5 million of Meijer food-only gift cards to food pantries across the Midwest.
Pictured is Denise Fox, Meijer Human Resources Director (left), Susan Shrewsbery, Director of Helping Hands of St. Louis, a ministry of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Toledo, and Store Director John Kowalski (right).
Thanks to the continued generosity and support of Meijer customers, team members and food pantry partners, who are committed to helping feed hungry families, the program has generated nearly $46 million since 2008, to help neighborhood food pantries keep their shelves stocked.
Check back for more information on your opportunity to get involved in Meijer’s Simply Give Program.
Posted: Deborah Boyce
Categories: 2019 Media Releases, Catholic Charities, CCHD, Charities Events, Charities in the News, Charities Stories of Hope, Charities Stories of Hope with Photos, Fundraising, Get Involved, Helping Hands of St. Louis Outreach Center, Helping Hands of St. Louis Stories of Hope, Press Releases
BEDFORD HILLS, MI—The July 27th Helping Hands of St. Louis Golf Outing at Bedford Hills Golf Club, 6400 Jackman Road, Temperance, MI, has been canceled. But keep checking back for the new date.
Our 4-person Scramble includes: 18 holes of golf with cart, hot dog at the turn, beverage tickets, New York Strip Steak and Chicken dinner at completion of play, raffles and prizes! And the winning team’s names will be engraved on a trophy permanently displayed at Helping Hands of St. Louis, 443 Sixth St., Toledo, OH.
Early bird registration is $80 per person, if received by Saturday, July 6. Regular $90 per person registration begins Sunday, July 7 and runs through Saturday, July 20.
Not a golfer? Consider becoming a sponsor! All proceeds benefit Helping Hands of St. Louis, a ministry of Catholic Charities Diocese of Toledo. Helping Hands Outreach Center’s ministries include a soup kitchen serving upwards of 250 meals daily. Our food pantry, clothing center, hot showers and hygiene products support low income and homeless families.
For more information on event sponsorship or to register a team, please contact Sue Shrewsbery (419) 691-0613, ext. 2, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you and God bless!
TOLEDO, OH—Alumni and Friends of Saint Meinrad Seminary are invited to join in on the 3rd Annual Toledo Saint Meinrad Alumni & Friends Day of Service, from 8:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. at Helping Hands of St. Louis, 443 6th Street, Toledo, OH.
TOLEDO, OH—Join us for Helping Hands of St. Louis Annual Coat Fest on Saturday, Oct. 13, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., at 443 Sixth Street, Toledo, OH. Volunteers assist children and adults “shopping” for free coats, boots and winter clothing accessories.
Helping Hands of St. Louis Clothing Center is looking for donations of gently used men’s tennis shoes and boots, especially sizes 10 and up; children’s boots; and warm coats, hats and gloves.
Clothing Center donations are accepted when the center is open: Tuesdays-Wednesdays-Thursdays from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Or donations can be dropped off at Helping Hands of St. Louis Mondays-Fridays between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Volunteers are always welcomed to assist our guests. Last year over 200 winter coats were given away to men, women and children visiting our Clothing Center, as well as winter boots, hats, and gloves, when available.
For more information on donating these items, contact Susan Shrewsbery, Director of Helping Hands of St. Louis, at 419.691.0613, ext. 2, or email@example.com.
To volunteer, contact Byron Wynn, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Toledo‘ Volunteer Coordinator at 419.214.4950 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you and God Bless!
TOLEDO, OH—With your help, Helping Hands of St. Louis will make the holidays much brighter for many who would otherwise go without. We ask all donated items be dropped off by 3 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 19 to Helping Hands of St. Louis, 443 Sixth Street, Toledo, OH, so they can be sorted and ready to go for these December events.
Upwards of 200 Christmas Food Baskets are being prepared for needy families, with enough food for three or four meals. Donated items needed include: turkeys, boneless hams, onions, instant mashed potatoes, stuffing mix, canned gravy, canned sweet potatoes, canned fruit, and other side dishes, butter, eggs, oil, dessert mixes, apples, and oranges.
The Helping Hands of St. Louis Elves are also collecting candy canes, new unwrapped toys for kids 12 and under, coats, mittens, gloves, hats, boots, shoes, socks and underwear. New gift items for the kids to pick from Santa’s Workshop to give as gifts to Mom and Dad are also welcomed. These items will be handed out at the annual Children’s Christmas Party, Tues., Dec. 19.
The Most Reverend Daniel E. Thomas, Bishop of the Diocese of Toledo, will join volunteers at Helping Hands of St. Louis in serving the festive annual Christmas Meal, Thurs., Dec. 21. Questions? Contact Sue Shrewsbery at 419.619.0613 or email email@example.com.
OREGON, OH—Now, through Sat., Sept. 16, is your last chance to purchase $10 Simply Give donation cards at Meijer in support of Helping Hands of St. Louis. Only cards purchased at the Meijer on 1725 S. Wheeling Street, in Oregon, OH, will support this Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Toledo ministry.
MANY THANKS for your continued support! Donations in increments of $10 will be loaded onto gift cards which will be given to Helping Hands to purchase purchase food items for the food pantry and on-site hot meal program. Every penny goes towards food purchases for Helping Hands of St. Louis food programs!
In addition to in store donations, Meijer will donate $1 million to the 2017 Simply Give program which will be dispersed to food pantries after the Fall 2017 campaign ends Sat., Sept. 16, 2017. Thank you Meijer and all who support this program!
Instead of determining what food to donate to food pantry partners, the Simply Give program allows them the flexibility to choose the grocery items best suited for the families they serve in their communities, including baby food, formula, diapers and wipes.
For more information contact Sue Shrewsbery or Gabriel Skiver at Helping Hands of St. Louis at 419.691.0613. For more info on Meijer’s Simply Give Campaign go to http://meijercommunity.com/commu…/hunger-relief/simply-give/
MANY THANKS for your continued support of Helping Hands of St. Louis, a ministry of Catholic Charities Diocese of Toledo!
Kyla, a single, stay-at-home mother of three, can be seen sporadically around Helping Hands with a big smile on her face and her children nearby.
She’s not a stranger, and the faces of volunteers and staff members are not unfamiliar.
“In a way, I guess you can say I consider them family,” Kyla says about the people who have helped her over the years.[singlepic id=882 w=320 h=240 float=right]
Kyla started coming to Helping Hands of St. Louis after she lost her job due to her pregnancy. In an effort to get back on her feet, Kyla moved in with her mother. Her search for a job has not been easy.
With goals to go back to school and one day become a Certified Nursing Assistant, Kyla says she appreciates all the help she has received from Helping Hands.
“The soup kitchen is nice because I don’t have to worry about making them [her children] lunch at home. I can just bring them down here, and we can eat lunch as a family. It helps with the cost of food as well.”
The staff have worked hard to help Kyla when she comes to the center for help.
“When she comes, we try to help her with pampers and baby milk,” says Vanessa, Helping Hands Meal and Volunteer Coordinator.
“Sometimes I’ll give her a little food just to keep her going until she gets her food stamps.”
“Ms. V (Vanessa), Paul and Sue, they all go out of their way. The three of them go out of their way, and that makes me feel good,” Kyla says.
Kyla’s children, ages 2, 3 and 4, all enjoy coming to Helping Hands as well.
“They like coming down here because they get to get out of the house and socialize with others. Everyone here loves my kids, and my kids get to come out and see people.”
“I would like to say thank you to the people who make this possible,” she says with a smile.
“Their generosity tells me that there are still good people out here willing to help.”
Bishop Daniel E. Thomas and volunteers from several area churches served a Christmas meal to 370 people at Helping Hands of St. Louis on December 23.
Bishop Thomas read the account of Christ’s birth from Luke’s Gospel before blessing the food. Guests were invited to sit down while volunteers served them a meal of ham, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn and desserts.
“It means a lot,” said Judy as her three-year-old daughter Hailey enjoyed a large spoonful of mashed potatoes. Judy said her family sometimes needs help with food, and she is grateful for what is offered at Helping Hands.
Mr. Jones is another guest who comes on a regular basis for lunches. He plays piano for worship at his church and said his faith is helping him through hard times. “No one is going to be perfect, but we strive to be better … that’s why God sent Jesus and why He is the reason for the season.”
Mr. Jones appreciates the food and fellowship he finds at Helping Hands, describing the program as “God’s love being shared.”
The daily meals could not be possible without the help of dedicated volunteers. Cheryl Sheffer, her son, John, and his children were all on hand to help serve the Christmas meal. Both Cheryl and John volunteer at Helping Hands on a regular basis with their churches.
“I love these people,” Cheryl said. “I always feel good after I’m here. I am dead tired when I leave, but it’s a good tired.”
“When you live in the suburbs, you tend to get comfortable with your life,” John added. “It’s good to be here with the people and share their burdens.”
In interviews with WNWO and WTOL, Bishop Thomas said he wanted to be part of serving the Christmas meal at Helping Hands because Jesus came as a poor infant in a stable. As much as the poor need food and drink, what they need is the joy that comes from Jesus, he said.
Click here to learn more about Helping Hands of St. Louis.