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.
“They made it look so easy!” Sue exclaims. “They had the old stove moved out and the new stove moved in and set up in just a few hours!”
To celebrate, Helping Hands Food Service Specialist Chef David Smith roasted turkeys and hams for the first meals prepared in the new double ovens. “We have a freezer full of meat and literally a ton of turkeys we’re eager to prepare and serve.”
When plans to re-open the Helping Hands Dining Room took shape in late June, the staff realized the kitchen’s 15-year-old stove really needed to be replaced. The burners and griddle worked, but the recalibrated ovens no longer held a temperature setting, which made so many meals impossible to prepare.
“We are humbled and extremely grateful for the outpouring of support from our community to help fund and install our new stove at Helping Hands,” says Rodney Schuster, Catholic Charities Executive Director. “What an example of coming together in a time of need to help our sisters and brothers!”
Helping Hands of St. Louis has been serving the poor in East Toledo for over 40 years. Each month, hundreds of individuals receive groceries, hygiene products and homeless kits from the Food Pantry, and clothing, shoes, and household items from our Clothing Center. Catholic Charities also provides Crisis Navigation services to guests as needed.
“The pandemic really changed how we could do things this year,” Sue says, noting take-home meals were prepared and distributed outside once COVID hit. On average, 225 meals are prepared daily in the Helping Hands Kitchen and served to low-income and homeless families.
“We are so grateful volunteers are returning to help prepare and serve our daily meals,” she adds. “Our guests really look forward to our food and also the fellowship!”