DINING WITH DIGNITY
Our open evenings begin with a meal prepared and served by a any one of our affiliate volunteer communities in and around Cleveland. Each group works to ensure that all food and drink is combined with a healthy dose of dignity and respect for those receiving it. We also encourage our volunteers to spend time meeting and talking with guests before, during and after the meal.
Each night our guests are given the opportunity to come to a supportive and peaceful atmosphere from daily challenges and anxieties. Our healing room offers sessions led by volunteers who create an environment that is informal yet personal with camaraderie, encouragement and support for one another.
Representatives from a variety of agencies such as job-training, housing resources, addiction recovery, and healthcare maintain staff at the Center on a regular basis. Perhaps what is most beneficial to the homeless are the caring, trusting relationships that the staff and volunteers cultivate with them. This is often the first step leading to their acceptance of help from the services available at the Center.
The Hospitality Center is open every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday 7PM to 7 AM from mid-November through mid-April, with days added as an emergency measure during extreme weather conditions. Each night it is open, the Hospitality Center is equipped to provide 50 shelter-resistant homeless persons a safe warm place to stay overnight, food, fellowship, and access to services they may need. Representatives from a variety of agencies such as job-training, housing resources, addiction recovery, and healthcare maintain staff at the Center on a regular basis. Perhaps what is most beneficial to the homeless persons, however, are the caring, trusting relationships that the staff and volunteers cultivate with them, often the first step leading to their acceptance of help from the services available at the Center. It is difficult to quantify the importance of these relationships. As one of our homeless guests stated, [The Hospitality Center] “makes me feel whole.” A unique feature of the Hospitality Center is that our staff is drawn from the ranks of those we serve. Each night we are open, there are 7 line staff and 2 supervisors working in various capacities: in the kitchen, as greeters, monitors, or part of clean up and maintenance. Their past experiences enable them to relate effectively to our guests and understand their needs and problems while maintaining a safe community environment.
Volunteers donate the food for the meals they prepare and serve to our guests.
Guests of the Hospitality Center are invited to participate in the Courage to Change Program, offered on site at the Center. This program is specifically designed to teach skills needed to find and retain meaningful employment and to identify and address ongoing barriers that negatively impact a person’s ability to move out of homelessness. In this six-week class the participants are exposed to educational material consisting of four topics: Recovery, Life Skills, Finances, and Spirituality. Addressing these topics in a safe environment helps uncover facets that contribute to homelessness and dependency. It also helps to restore self-esteem, dignity, and hope to individuals through meeting the fundamental need of every person for authentic contact and relationships of trust.
The Hospitality Center is an ongoing project that began in 2007 and has operated yearly from 1-3 days a week (3 days/week the past three seasons) during the coldest months of winter. Next season the Center will again open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 7 PM to 7 AM from mid-November through mid-April. It will also open on an emergency basis during extremely cold weather. If funds allow, we will open an additional day each week.