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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 of St. Louis 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, and providing a material or 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 our humble beginnings, this St. Louis ministry has grown into a multi-service, social service center.

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 over 40,000 on-site meals annually.

The soup kitchen, however, is only one piece of our outreach program. In the late 1980s Helping Hands of St. Louis added a food pantry to broaden our outreach efforts. Today our food pantry serves nearly 5,500 individuals annually, providing over 2,000 bags of groceries, 650 hygiene kits and 650 snack packs for the homeless. In 2011, we opened a clothing center, now serving over 6,500 shoppers in need of free clothing, shoes and small household items.

Know Someone in Need? 

Check out when Helping Hands of St. Louis Services are offered. 

Need More Information? 

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

Main Number: 419-691-0613, Ext. 0 for next available staff person

Clothing Center: Ext. 105, Carolyn Schnapp or email cschnapp@toledodiocese.org 

Food Pantry: Ext. 100, Dee Haack or email dhaack@toledodiocese.org   

Kitchen: Ext. 103, Chef David Smith or email dsmith@toledodiocese.org 

Community Service: Ext. 102, Vanessa Garrett or email vgarrett@toledodiocese.org

Admin/General Questions: Ext. 106, Gabriel Skiver or email gskiver@toledodiocese.org

Program Coordinator: Ext. 101, Susan Shrewsbery or email sshrewsbery@toledodiocese.org

Would You Like to Volunteer?

Text to Volunteer: 419-318-7086, Byron Wynn or email bwynn@toledodiocese.org

Learn How Helping Hands Changes Lives:

Letter Carriers Stamp Out Hunger Food Drives blessed Helping Hands of St. Louis Food Pantry in Toledo and HOPE Food Pantry in Mansfield with nearly 5 tons of food! Both of Catholic Charities Diocese of Toledo's choice food pantries are serving record high numbers of individuals in Lucas and Richland counties.

Sue Shrewsbery, Helping Hands of St. Louis Director, and Tim Carroll, Toledo St. Meinrad Day of Service Coordinator, promote the upcoming March 9 Service Day for alumni and friends of St Meinrad. You can sign up to volunteer that day at Helping Hands of St. Louis https://alumni.saintmeinrad.edu/home/day-of-service/day-of-service-registration/.

The need for services has never been greater. Our homeless shelters are full. Our crisis navigators and community emergency services folks report the need for housing assistance is at an all time high!

Helping Hands of St. Louis is serving record high numbers of hot meals daily, nearly 5,000 meals last month! Over the past three months 3,000 individuals turned to our Clothing Center for winter clothing and needed household items -- an all-time high! The number seeking food from the HHSL Food Pantry is up 41%, and our HOPE Pantry in Mansfield is seeing increases as well. The need for your financial support has never been greater!

Rodney Schuster, Catholic Charities Diocese of Toledo's Executive Director, and Jen Lippus, Catholic Charities Development Director discuss top critical needs for our ministries right now. Both our La Posada Family Emergency Shelter and Miriam House, our transitional shelter for homeless women and their children, are full. Helping Hands of St. Louis is feeding record high numbers of individuals daily in our dining room and through our Food Pantry. All need food inventories re-stocked through in-kind donations or financial support https://catholiccharitiesnwo.org/how-to-help/donate.html

Oregon Meijer's Holiday Simply Give! Campaign runs through Sat., Dec. 30, 2023. All proceeds support Helping Hands of St. Louis hot meal and pantry programs that provide food to over 1,000 people each week.

Our Project Bethlehem coordinators share their efforts: Jen Voight, Permanent Supportive Housing Program Coordinator, Willi Meyer, Activities and Facilities Manager at La Posada Family Emergency Shelter, and Sue Shrewsbery, Director of Helping Hands of St. Louis, Laurie Hamrick, Community Emergency Services Case Manager in Mansfield, and Breanna Mantz, Program Coordinator Huron County Community Emergency Services and Miriam House, our transitional shelter for homeless women and their children.

A record 4,884 hot, freshly prepared meals were served at Helping Hands of St. Louis last month. In the past three months, over 3,000 individuals turned to our Helping Hands Clothing Center for winter clothing and needed household items. The number relying on our Helping Hands Pantry for food is up 41 percent! All record highs! The need for services and the need for financial support has never been greater. Please make your online gift today!

Traditional Thanksgiving dinners will be prepared and served at Helping Hands of St. Louis. The free dine-in meals will be served between 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday, November 21 at Helping Hands of St. Louis, 443 Sixth St., Toledo.

“Saint John XXIII Catholic Community volunteers are preparing hundreds of turkey dinners with all the fixings,” says Sue Shrewsbery, Director of Helping Hands of St. Louis. “In years past, we’ve served upwards of 350 people and our guests really look forward to our holiday dinners each year for the food and also the fellowship.”

“This year we provided nearly 500 winter coats to individuals, and hats, gloves and winter boots,” says Sue Shrewsbery, Director of Helping Hands of St. Louis. Gently used winter boots, especially men's sizes 10 and up and men’s socks, children’s boots, and warm coats, hats and gloves for all are continually needed. Donations are accepted at Helping Hands of St. Louis Clothing Center from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Mondays - Fridays.

Thanks to all who attended the 2nd Annual “Faith in Blue” Food Drive + Tailgate held at Central Catholic High School, Friday, Oct. 13. Over 1.5 tons of non-perishable food items were collected to benefit Helping Hands of St. Louis, a soup kitchen and food pantry which has operated for more than 40 years in Toledo.

Breanna Mantz, Catholic Charities Program Coordinator for Huron County Community Emergency Services (CES) ministry and Miriam House, a transitional shelter for homeless women and their children. Susan Shrewsbery, Director of Helping Hands of St. Louis shares the need for coat donations and volunteers for their upcoming Winter Coat Fest, on Saturday, October 21.

In the final segment of the program, Meghan Clark, Ph.D., associate professor of moral theology at St. John's University, discusses charitable justice fieldwork in East Africa and women religious, highlighting why Catholic development work is distinctive.

2nd Annual “Faith in Blue” Food Drive on Oct. 13 at Central Catholic High School benefits Helping Hands of St. Louis. Guests include Tom Antonini, from the Diocese of Toledo, Lieutenant Jessica Meyer, from the Toledo Police Department and Byron Wynn, Catholic Charities Volunteer Coordinator. Non-perishable food items donated will benefit Helping Hands of St. Louis.

Father Fred Kammer, S.J., Director of the Jesuit Social Research Institute at Loyola University New Orleans, discusses aspects of his first book, "Doing Faith Justice: An Introduction to Catholic Social Thought."

Kevin Jorrey, Office for Life & Justice Director, discusses the 40 Days for Life campaign that starts Sept. 27 and runs through Nov. 5. Carolyn Schnapp, Clothing Center Coordinator at Helping Hands of St. Louis shares what donations are needed for the upcoming Winter Coat Fest on Oct. 21. Monsignor Martin Schlag, professor at the University of St. Thomas, discusses how subsidiarity and Catholic Social Teaching can improve health care outcomes in the United States.

“We are blessed to have the support of the community to enable us to host an event like this!” says Susan Shrewsbery, Director of Helping Hands of St. Louis, noting this was their largest turnout ever. “This was truly a living example of the Helping Hands of Christ reaching out into our community! Your Helping Hands are the reason we exist and we couldn't do what we do without you!”

Sue Shrewsbery, Director of Helping Hands of St. Louis, discusses this parish ministry's evolution to a model of Catholic Social Teaching, serving hundreds of people daily with a hot meal, food pantry, clothing center, community garden and so much more! Author Mark P. Shea, discusses the roots of Catholic social teaching in Scripture and Tradition and gives simple, practical examples of how it works in ordinary life.

Willi Meyer, Facilities and Activities Manager at La Posada Family Emergency Shelter, discusses their "Back-to-School Stop-in" event on Wednesday, August 9. Sue Shrewsberry, Director of Helping Hands of St. Louis, then discusses the 10th Annual Helping Hands Shoe Fest on Saturday, August 12. Deacon Bill Scholl, Social Justice Consultant with the Archdiocese of Kansas City, Kansas discusses Subsidiarity as it relates to Catholic Social Teaching.

Helping Hands of St. Louis’ 10th Annual Shoe Fest will be Saturday, August 12. “We are looking for donations and volunteers,” says Sue Shrewsbery. “Last year we gave away over 700 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 also needed.

On this week's "Faith Alive," Sue Shrewsbery, Director of Helping Hands of St. Louis, and Carolyn Nitz Schnapp sharing current donation and volunteer needs for their ministries + the 10th Annual Helping Hands of St. Louis Shoe Fest on Aug. 12. Msgr. Stuart Swetland, President of Donnelly College in Kansas City, discusses our Catholic Social Teaching call "to serve the least among us."

Helping Hands of St. Louis, a ministry of Catholic Charities Diocese of Toledo, gladly accepts in-season clothing, bedding, curtains, small appliances and essential kitchen items.

Helping Hands of St. Louis’ 10th Annual Shoe Fest will be Saturday, August 12. “We typically give away over 600 pairs of shoes,” says Sue Shrewsbery. "We focus on East Toledo families, but no child will be turned away, if we have their shoe size.”

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!

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.

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 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.

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