ASHTABULA — Monday was a day of hope for people experiencing homelessness in the city.
G.O. Community Development Corporation (CDC) donated 50 tents, 50 mummy sleeping bags, mats and blankets to be distributed at various locations where homeless people reside, such as parks and in the Ashtabula Gulf.
Ashtabula residents Ricky Turner and Robert Jewell accepted the donation from G.O. CDC President, Drew Thomas and G.O. CDC Director, Frances Norman.
“This should keep them warm in the winter; it’s not a permanent fix but it will help,” Thomas said. “The homeless come to us for their needs. It’s putting the community’s donations back into the community.”
The Geneva United Methodist Church women made the mats out of plastic bags to place under the sleeping bags for extra insulation and comfort, Norman said.
On extremely cold days, G.O. CDC opens its gymnasium, Thomas said.
“We are committed to providing food, clothing, household items and other assistance to people in the city of Ashtabula and throughout Ashtabula County,” Norman said.
Turner said he and Jewell will distribute the donations to the homeless camps in the area.
“There are five major camps in Ashtabula, from Bridge Street to behind the Circle K on Main Avenue,” he said. “A new camp just set up behind Giant Eagle in Saybrook.”
Turner, who feeds the people in the parks every morning, hopes to eventually open a sleeping center for the homeless.
“We have parents and kids living down in the gulf,” he said. “I like these tents and sleeping bags because they are lightweight and they can carry them with them throughout the day.”
Turner said the homeless hang out in the city’s downtown parks because they have appointments at Signature Health and Catholic Charities, and they can use the WiFi and bathrooms at the library.
The city’s homeless situation is nothing new to city officials.
In August, Ashtabula City Council heard nearly two hours of public testimony from more than a dozen people who spoke about petty crime, public urination, criminal damage, litter and other problems they’ve encountered in Cornelius (the former North Park) and South parks. They said the homeless situation is negatively affecting the downtown community.
A few weeks later, council members held a work session to come up with ideas to solve the problem of people camping out in the city parks. They heard from five social service agencies and discovered there’s a lot of help available in the county, if people would just take advantage of it.
Ashtabula County Medical Center’s registered nurses donated $1,000 Friday to G.O. Community Development Corp. Pictured here (left to right) G.O. CDC President Drew Thomas, nurse Joe Chike, nurse Kim Evans, nurse Sheenna HInes and baby Cooper, and G.O. CDC Director Frances Norman.
ASHTABULA — As winter approaches, Ashtabula County Medical Center’s registered nurses have stepped up to help a local non-profit organization with its heating bills.The nurses donated $1,000 on Friday to G.O. Community Development Corporation so it may continue serving those in need at Station Avenue (the former Thurgood Marshall Elementary School).
“We really appreciate it; it’s needed,” said Drew Thomas, president of G.O. CDC. “Our biggest need is when the boiler runs in the winter. It costs about $3,000 a month to heat this place.”G.O. CDC has been a non-profit organization since 1999.
They run a soup kitchen, a recreation center and gym, a clothing bank, shoe closet and other outreach activities. They work with Birthcare, Helping Independent Parents (HIP), NarAnon and other groups.
“We also have an annual free Thanksgiving dinner, a Christmas party where we give out free toys and gifts to 400 kids, plus food giveaways at various times throughout the year,” Thomas said. “In August, we had a back-to-school giveaway.
We gave away backpacks filled with school supplies.”The most recent addition is a Shoe Closet — an idea that came to fruition, thanks to G.O. CDC Director Frances Norman.
ACMC registered nurses Kim Evans, Joe Chike and Sheenna Hines were surprised at the number of new shoes, of all styles and sizes, in the Shoe Closet.
The “closet” is not a closet, but rather, a large former classroom.”Wow!” said Evans.
“I like the leopard print ones over there!”Thomas said those will go fast.”We provide shoes to anyone in need,” Norman said. “
October 18 and 19 we will be giving away new boots, coats, mittens, gloves and blankets from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. to anyone in need.”G.O. CDC is the result of the research, planning and coordination of John and the late Mae Salters and the Salters family.
The Salters’ vision is to provide a family center committed to providing food, clothing and help for the community.
SAYBROOK — St. John School has announced the recipients of its 2017 Youth Philanthropy Board grants. The Ashtabula Foundation provides each Ashtabula County high school with the opportunity to award $5,000 in grants to area non-profit organizations, and St. John’s Philanthropy Board received a number of proposals this year.
In addition to funding provided by The Ashtabula Foundation, St. John students have been making monetary donations on school sponsored dress-down days and the Philanthropy Board will be awarding additional funds to some local non-profits at the end of the school year. Saint John’s Philanthropy Board 2017 grants have been awarded to the following non-profit organizations with their listed projects:
• Birthcare, Inc., of Ashtabula County: Purchasing diapers and formula for local newborns.
• Catholic Charities of Ashtabula County: Purchasing of turkey, ham and other perishable food items for the Thankful Hearts Program to provide area families with Thanksgiving meals.
• Farm for Christ: Purchase beef cattle to be distributed to Ashtabula County families in need.
• Our Lady of Peace Parish Neighbor to Neighbor Food Pantry: Purchase additional fresh (non-processed) meat to provide healthier meals to the families they serve.
• G.O. Community Development Corporation: Purchase additional items to better stock the clothing bank for local families in need.
• Learning About Business (LAB): Purchase additional programming opportunities for area high school sophomores and juniors to participate in an interactive program exploring future business careers.
• Mya Women’s Center: Purchase infant car seats for families in need to transport their newborns home from the hospital.