TOLEDO—Sunday, Aug. 20 through Saturday, Sept. 16, you can help support Helping Hands of St. Louis by going to the Meijer on 1725 S. Wheeling Street, in Oregon, OH, and purchasing a Simply Give card. Once again, the Oregon Meijer store has selected Helping Hands of St. Louis to be the benefactor for their Simply Give Campaign.
Only Simply Give cards purchased at the Meijer in Oregon, OH, will benefit Helping Hands of St. Louis. Donations in increments of $10 will be loaded onto gift cards which will be given to Helping Hands to purchase purchase food items for their pantry and on-site meals.
Each Meijer store partners with a local food pantry during campaigns to ensure that all donations generated remain within local communities.The Simply Give program runs three times a year to help fulfill the needs of our food pantry partners when they need it most: Spring, Fall and Holiday. The partnering food pantries are rotated to ensure broader outreach in our communities.
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.
Thank you for your generous support of Helping Hands of St. Louis, a ministry of Catholic Charities Diocese of Toledo!
For more info on Meijer’s Simply Give Campaign go to http://meijercommunity.com/commu…/hunger-relief/simply-give/
BEDFORD HILLS—Looking for a great way to give back and help others this summer? Join us Saturday, July 29, for our 14th Annual Golf Scramble Outing benefiting Helping Hands of St. Louis, at Bedford Hills Golf Course, in Temperance, MI!
Our 4-person Scramble includes: 18 holes of golf, a golf 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 July 18. The registration fee from July 19-24 is $90 per person. To register or for more information on becoming an event sponsor, please contact Sue Shrewsbery at 419-691-0613, ext. 2.
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.
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.
The hands at Helping Hands were busy as volunteers served Thanksgiving lunch to 500 people in need of a meal for the holidays. Lunch included turkey, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes and gravy, candied yams, dressing, mixed vegetables and dessert.
The occasion brought hope to David and his nephew Shaun who were first time visitors to Helping Hands. The holiday lunch was their first holiday meal after losing their landscaping business, income and car over the summer.
“When we walked in today, we were amazed at how many people who are in the same position as we are,” says David.
“We had no food and my neighbor told us about this place. Thank You. We never thought we would be in this position. We truly would not be here if we didn’t have this option.”
For many Helping Hands clients, lunch was more than just another meal. This was their opportunity to spend the holidays with people they called family.
“We are very thankful for this place,” says Rhonda, Jodi and Dino all who are not related but have formed close relationships since coming to Helping Hands over the years. “This is our family right here,” says Dino.
“I think that Thanksgiving lunch is a great thing that they’re doing,” says Angel. “It give people a hot meal to eat on cold days.”
“I come because I like this place, and I like the people. There are a lot of good reasons for coming to here. Not just the food, it’s the people. There are good people who are here to help,” she adds.
“It gives you a chance to stretch your food at home,” says Dennis, a regular to Helping Hands. “When you run out of food at home, you can come here to get a meal.”
Today, hundreds of Toledo residents lined up for a serving of Little Caesars pizza at Helping Hands of St. Louis. The pizza was prepared and cooked inside a semi-truck called the “Little Caesars Love Kitchen,” which was parked outside the center’s soup kitchen doors.
The Little Caesars Love Kitchen is a pizza kitchen on wheels that “travels across the continental United States and Canada meeting the needs of the hungry, the homeless and disaster survivors,” according to the company’s website. Employees from Little Caesars Pizza helped prepare and cook pizzas for an estimated 300 guests. All food and services were donated by Little Caesars Pizza.
After the pizzas were baked inside the truck’s kitchen, they were delivered to the Helping Hands’ kitchen and served to a long line of excited people. The clients at Helping Hands loved every slice. Waves of appreciations and thank yous could be heard from satisfied individuals within the dining hall.
“It’s a really good thing that they did here today,” said one Helping Hands regular. “Everything was really good.”
Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! Over seventy children, parents and volunteers attended the Halloween Party at Helping Hands of St. Louis. Adding their own spin to trick or treating, people throughout the East Toledo community had a great time dressing up in costumes and getting together for the event. Candy, graciously donated by community members, was passed around as the sounds of children laughing could be heard throughout the center. There were arts and crafts activities, food, face painting and a huge inflatable green Frankenstein for families to take pictures and create memories.
On Saturday, August 2, Helping Hands of St. Louis held its 11th Annual Golf Outing Fundraiser. The day was filled with laughter and comradery as 18 teams of four played on the beautiful greens at Bedford Hills Golf Club in Temperance, Michigan.
The golf tournament included 18 holes of golf, a power cart, beverage tickets and a chicken and New York strip steak dinner. Winners of the tournament and raffles received prizes at the end of the day.
The event raised $3,000 for services provided at Helping Hands. The outreach center includes a soup kitchen, food pantry and clothing center. Additional services include hygiene products, homeless kits and hot showers.
It’s an exciting day for the Diocese of Toledo. Today, it was announced that Pope Francis appointed Most Reverend Daniel E. Thomas as the eighth Bishop of Toledo. “What a blessing to now call you my family of faith and to call Ohio my home,” said Bishop Thomas at a morning press conference with Diocesan and Catholic Charities staff.
Bishop Thomas requested to spend his lunch at Catholic Charities’ Helping Hands of St. Louis to follow the example of Pope Francis.
“Pope Francis has asked every bishop to be who he himself is modeling – and that is to model Jesus Christ,” Bishop Thomas said at the press conference. “It’s that very famous phrase that Pope Francis says, ‘The priest should have the smell of the sheep.’ ”
During his visit at Helping Hands, Bishop Thomas met with clients and volunteers in our clothing center, food pantry and soup kitchen. He joined a group of volunteers from St. John XXIII parish to serve people in line at the soup kitchen. In an apron and ready to serve, he greeted each person and asked for their names. He spent time listening and answering questions from the people as he scooped a serving of the day’s meal on their meal plates.
Bishop Thomas also modeled Pope Francis in asking for prayers at the beginning of his ministry. “I beg your prayers that I may be a faithful, humble, holy and ardent bishop for Toledo, and that I may spend myself for love of souls in teaching, governing and sanctifying in the name of Jesus for the sake of His Church,” Bishop Thomas said at the morning press conference.
Diocesan Administrator Rev. Charles Ritter spoke on behalf of the Diocese in welcoming the new bishop to Toledo. “I and the entire diocese are delighted to welcome Bishop Thomas. We ask for God’s blessings for him and for the people of the Diocese of Toledo as he assumes the office of chief shepherd of this local church,” he said.
Bishop Thomas was born and raised in Philadelphia and attended Catholic elementary and high schools. Ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia on May 18, 1985, he was first assigned as a Parochial Vicar at Saint Joseph Parish in Aston, Pennsylvania. In 2006, he was ordained Auxiliary Bishop of Philadelphia, assisting the Archbishop with pastoral responsibilities and administrative duties at the Archdiocesan Pastoral Center.
Clip, Snip and Save. This summer, Helping Hands held it first Coupon Challenge. The Coupon Challenge was an answer to a growing problem for many families in the East Toledo community. Many Helping Hands clients live on fixed and/or limited incomes and struggle to buy groceries. Cuts in food stamps and increasing food prices have made it even more challenging.
“The contest was a way to help people find ways to stretch their grocery and food stamp dollars,” says Linda Kraft, Catholic Charities Crisis Navigator and organizer of the Coupon Challenge. “A lot of people didn’t even know how to use coupons before the contest.”
Participants collectively saved over $573.90 in the two-month contest.
The challenge was open to all Helping Hands clients. Participants brought in their receipts to show how much they saved using coupons.
Participants were free to use their own coupons or choose them from the “Coupon Book,” which was kept full throughout the contest.
“All of the coupons are organized by category,” says Kathy, a Helping Hands volunteer. “It was great to see how much people were able to save after they used them.”
There were two winners of the challenge: Debbie, who saved the most with $200, and Sue, who won the general drawing for participation. The ladies each received a $25 Meijer’s gift card.
Now that the contest is over, staff are pleased to see clients continue to find ways to save on groceries.
“People continue to look at the coupon books,” Linda says. “I have people asking me if we will do it again!”
Coupon donations may be delivered to Linda Kraft at 1933 Spielbush Ave., Toledo, Ohio 43604.