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Feeding the Hungry

Helping Hands of St. Louis

Helping Hands of St. Louis, a ministry of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Toledo, is located at 443 Sixth St., Toledo, Ohio, serves low-income and homeless families and individuals. The Outreach Center includes a Soup Kitchen, Food Pantry and Clothing Center. Additional services include providing hygiene packs to families and hot showers and hygiene and snack kits to the homeless.

Since 1982, Helping Hands has served more than 1.5 million meals to people in need. An average of 250 meals are now served each day, Monday through Friday, through the generosity of local community members and businesses and through the dedication of our volunteer teams.

Our Mission

The mission of Helping Hands of St. Louis is to provide hot nutritious meals, groceries, clothing, hot showers and other social services for all who come to our doors. We strive to acknowledge the dignity of each and every person by assisting with a smile, an embrace, or a material or a spiritual need.

Our Philosophy

We welcome everyone who comes to our doors for a warm meal. We never ask questions of eligibility, religious affiliation or residency.  We want to provide a refuge for those who have no place to go, who are hungry and looking for someone with whom to talk. We try to stress the importance of the person and the need for human dignity and respect.

Our History

Rev. Robert Armstrong had a dream of serving the poor and disadvantaged in East Toledo.  In January of 1981, Rev. Armstrong’s dream was realized when he, St. Louis parishioners, and a handful of willing volunteers opened their doors and their hearts to those in need.  Beginnings were meager.  The guests were served soup, bread, drink, and maybe a treat once in a while.  From humble beginnings, this St. Louis ministry has grown into a multi-service, social service agency.

Helping Hands of St. Louis is dedicated to serving God’s people by providing a hot nutritious meal and a compassionate ear to all who come to us in need.  Through our ministry of hospitality, we strive to acknowledge the dignity of each person; to foster an atmosphere of courtesy and fellowship: and to provide support in times of material or spiritual need.  Helping Hands of St. Louis serves approximately 80,000 on-site meals on an annual basis.

The soup kitchen, however, is only one piece of the outreach program.  An initiative was begun in the late 1980s to broaden our outreach efforts.  We now provide 3,100 bags of groceries and 650 hygiene kits each year.  In 2011, we opened a clothing and home center, which has served over 6,000 shoppers with free clothing and household items.

Know Someone Who is in Need or Would Like to Volunteer?

Please contact Helping Hands for more information:

Helping Hands of St. Louis
443 Sixth Street, Toledo, OH 43605

Phone: 419-691-0613
Fax: 419-697-4223

Learn How Helping Hands Changes Lives:

Share your Easter Blessings! Host Rodney Schuster, Executive Director, Catholic Charities Diocese of Toledo, welcomes Sue Shrewsbery from Helping Hands of St. Louis, Willi Meyer from La Posada Family Emergency Shelter, Vicki Smith from Miriam House, our transitional shelter for homeless women and children in Norwalk, and Susan Dyson from Catholic Charities HOPE Pantry in Mansfield.

The Hoelzle Sisters wanted to do something for others on their birthdays, so they asked for socks! And they donated 300 pairs of children's socks to Helping Hands of St. Louis, a ministry of Catholic Charities Diocese of Toledo!

Catholic Charities Diocese of Toledo welcomes your spring cleaning donations for the "Roll It Forward" Rummage Sale, our furniture ministries and for our Helping Hands of St. Louis Clothing Center. Learn what is needed and how your donations help on "Faith Alive!"

The number of people Catholic Charities Diocese of Toledo is serving continues to grow dramatically. “We provide the most basic human needs of food, clothing, and shelter to our communities’ most vulnerable men, women, and children across the Diocese of Toledo,” says Rodney Schuster, Executive Director of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Toledo. “We ask for your prayers to protect and lift our staff and the people we serve. We also ask for your financial support as our ministries are being dramatically stretched."

Host Rodney Schuster and guests discuss the capital, donative and volunteer needs of Helping Hands of St. Louis. This Catholic Charities ministry serves on average over 250 meals daily to low-income and homeless families. Each month, on average, 400 individuals get groceries, hygiene products and homeless kits from the Food Pantry and nearly 700 individuals receive clothing, shoes and household items from the Clothing Center.

Catholic Charities Helping Hands Clothing Center is in dire need of warm winter hats, gloves, socks and hand warmers. Assembling these items in a gallon-size ziploc storage bag is a great youth group service project and will be greatly appreciated buy the homeless we serve!

Make your way to the Oregon Meijer, 1725 S. Wheeling Street, Oregon, OH, to purchase $10 SImply Give food cards before the New Year! The proceeds support Helping Hands of St. Louis hot meal and pantry programs that provide food to over 1,000 people each week.

Looking to make a difference during this Season of Giving? Host a Ham Drive! Or simply donate what you can! Helping Hands of St. Louis needs 100 boneless or spiral cut hams for Christmas baskets and our annual Christmas Dinner Dec. 20.

Grocery shopping at the Oregon Meijer this week benefits Helping Hands of St. Louis! Meijer is donating a meal to help feed a neighbor in need for every purchase at the Oregon Meijer that includes a Meijer brand food product!

Traditional Thanksgiving dinners will be prepared and served at Helping Hands of St. Louis and guests will be able dine-in again this year. The free meals will be served between 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday, November 22 at Helping Hands of St. Louis, 443 Sixth St., Toledo. 

Susan Shrewsbery, Director of Helping Hands of St. Louis, Susan Dyson, Mansfield's HOPE Food Pantry Coordinator, and Willi Meyer, Facility and Activities Coordinator at La Posada Family Shelter discuss Thanksgiving food needs. "Faith Alive" airs weekly on Annunciation Radio of Northwest Ohio

Nearly 200 families took home 630 new and gently used coats to keep warm during the upcoming winter season. Gently used and new boots, hats and gloves, warm children's PJ's, books and puzzles were also available. "Thank you to all who donated coats, especially Perrysburg Knights Of Columbus Council 7978 who purchased 154 children's coats for the Helping Hands of St. Louis event and to Saint John XXIII parishioners who hosted a Winter Clothing Drive,' Says Sue Shrewsbery.

Donations of clean, gently-used coats and winter wear are needed, especially children’s coats, boots and outer wear. Helping Hands volunteers and staff will assist men, women and children in finding winter clothing items from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the side parking lot next to the old school building of Helping Hands of St. Louis, 443 Sixth St., Toledo, OH.

Helping Hands of St. Louis needs new rotating groups of volunteers! Each group would be responsible for 1 day a month (or more), rotating on a monthly schedule and should consist of 6 - 8 persons for the morning shift and 2 - 4 people for the afternoon shift. Those who wish to come for the whole day are welcome too!

Helping Hands of St. Louis’ 9th Annual Shoe Fest will be Saturday, August 6. “We pray more shoe donations come in,” says Sue Shrewsbery. “We typically give away over 400 pairs of shoes. We focus on East Toledo families, but no child will be turned away, if we have their shoe size.”new and gently used children's books are needed.

Helping Hands of St. Louis Needs Volunteers! On Saturday, May 14 volunteers are needed from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. INSIDE the Clothing Center to assemble new clothing racks and OUTSIDE in our 6th Street Community Garden and Neighborhood Cleanup.

This April, celebrate Keep America Beautiful Month by working to clean up and beautify our communities. There are lots of ways to beautify our world, and together we can keep it that way for generations to come.

TOLEDO—Helping Hands of St. Louis is celebrating Thanksgiving early this year! “We are so blessed!” says Sue Shrewsbery, Director of Helping Hands of St. Louis. She expresses gratitude to the loyal supporters who underwrote the purchase of a new 60-inch commercial stove for the kitchen—and for the team of volunteers from Sheet Metal Workers 33 Local Matt Cherry, Business Representative, arranged to install it.