Clinton County Homeless Shelter: Compassion & community providing housing and meals in 2020

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WILMINGTON — The Clinton County Homeless Shelter expressed gratitude to the community for a busy yet unusual year due to the pandemic at its board meeting held via Zoom on Wednesday, Jan. 20.

In 1988, the Clinton County Services for the Homeless — “the Shelter” — opened its doors and became the first emergency shelter in a rural Ohio community. For more than 32 years, the support of our Clinton County Community has enabled the Shelter to continue its mission of providing emergency shelter, compassionate care, and support to the homeless and underprivileged while remembering each resident is a person of worth.

Board members for 2021 include Robyn Allen, Billie Baker, Becky Boris, Sandy Broderick, Bill Davis, Pam George, Dan Mayo, Nancy McCormick, Barbara Saville.

Election of officers approved for 2021 are President Dan Mayo, Vice President Nancy McCormick, Treasurer Billie Baker, Assistant Treasurer Pam George, Secretary Sandy Broderick, and Assistant Secretary Becky Boris.

Executive Director Denise Stryker provided a report on the past year. She said that in 2020, “We provided a home for 143 people, including 14 children. Residents spent 3,832 total nights at the Shelter. During their stay, residents received a total of 19,175 meals and snacks.

“In 2020, the board of directors and staff worked together to make important decisions to help keep those working and living at the shelter safe during these unprecedented times including following the stay-at-home order in the spring of 2020, limiting the capacity to follow social distancing recommendations, and the temporary closing of the donation center are among some of the decisions made.

“I am grateful for the compassion and commitment of each board and staff member for their dedication to the work we are doing at the Clinton County Homeless Shelter.”

Stryker continued, “For those facing and experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 pandemic, staying safe and healthy, keeping a positive outlook to find full-time sustainable employment that can support an individual and/or household was more challenging than usual.

“Those who are suffering from an addiction and/or mental health illness, living on the streets or congregate locations are vulnerable and at a higher risk for contracting the virus. Additionally, loss of transportation, lack of affordable childcare, separation from a spouse, illness/injuries are among some of the many other hardships that the homeless have.

“Each year, it is heartwarming to see the outpouring of support from those living at the shelter. This year was no exception with those living at the shelter ‘paying it forward’ and offering their support to answer phones, sort donations, help another resident with chores, offering their help for the staff and others living at the shelter in need of encouragement or a smile.

“These acts of kindness give us hope and inspiration every day and I am forever grateful for the lessons learned.”

In February 2020, the Board of Realtors sponsored the Day of Caring pancake breakfast held each year the last Sunday in February at the Wilmington Friends Meeting. Funds raised provided much needed support for operations of the shelter.

The Wilmington AM Rotary “thought outside the box” in 2020 for the annual cardboard city. Cardboard City and CANstruction was held on the same night in September of 2020 at the location of each participating team. Two teams participated raising funds and food items benefitting the shelter’s food pantry. Due to the pandemic, the soup fundraiser organized in the spring and fall each year by staff and board members was cancelled.

The Wilmington Area Ministerial Association continues to support the Shelter along with local churches, businesses, service organizations and individuals. The Shelter also benefited from community giving through funds awarded by the Clinton County United Way.

The Shelter continued collaboration with the Cincinnati Food Bank in conjunction with the local Walmart store and the Feed America Program. Volunteers organize efforts to pick-up the donated food and distribute it to the Shelter as well as other local organizations that help feed those in need.

In 2020, 116 Clinton County households benefited from the Shelter food pantry with assistance from the Feed America Program and donations from individuals, churches, families, and businesses.

Three days a week, volunteers deliver food from the Feed America Program to churches in surrounding villages in Clinton County.

Please call 937-382-7058 or email if you would like more information about the shelter; like them on Facebook at Clinton County Homeless Shelter “A Place to Call Home.”

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