Saving one life at a time...for over 36 years.Of the thousands of individuals and families whose lives were changed by the West Side Catholic Center, there are hundreds of stories of hope from clients, volunteers and staff to represent our service to those in need.35 Stories of Hope01 Every day at the Center we feel God’s hand guiding and providing. One Board member calls us “The Miracle on 32nd St.” 02 In 1977 – Fr. Bob Begin asked the 19 parishes of the Central West Deanery to sponsor a project now known as the West Side Catholic Center. Its basic purpose was “to minister to the needs of the people of the near West side area and to share their burden by giving a strong Catholic witness to God’s love for them and to evidence love for Jesus Christ and his children.03 During her time at the Shelter an 11-year old girl had her birthday. The staff put together a few small gifts and prepared a cake to surprise her. Her overwhelming emotional response was too much for many to bear as she cried and thanked everyone. This was the first time in her short life she had a birthday party. 04 When I volunteer I have the privilege to meet many wonderful people who know how to make a real difference in other’s lives with their hands and hearts.05 My child feels safe at the Women and Children’s Shelter. And I feel safe about our future. Thanks WSCC, God Bless!06 I was homeless for 10 years because of my drug addiction. The Center taught me to love myself and how to be responsible.07 Thank God for the donors, I have dry socks and some shoes that fit.08 One night at dinner in the Shelter two women began to argue loudly. Two-year old Samaya looked at one of the women in a soft sweet voice and said: “You scare me when you talk like that.” Quiet fell over the dinner table and the woman apologized. The prophet Isaiah must have been talking about Samaya when he penned the words “and a child shall lead them.” Thank you for taking the time to look into the eyes of children who are homeless in Cleveland and let them lead you. 09 I am thankful that I am with my children each day and that they have a bed to sleep in rather than the back seat of a car.10 I hope that one day you will be so successful in dealing with the problems of homelessness that you can close your doors.11 My husband and I donate because we are strong believers in the Center’s mission on behalf of our land’s forgotten poor. The work that you perform inspires us to know that local organizations are continuing to provide relief to the unfortunate.12 I am thankful that I am subject to random drug testing because it helps remind me of what, and who to stay away from each day.13 Besides the good feeling you receive from helping others when you volunteer, I cherish the friendships that I have developed with the staff, other volunteers and some of the folks that come to the Center.14 I am a 49-year-old female veteran. Over a year ago I lost my job due to a back injury. Things started to fall apart and I soon found myself homeless. During this time my mother passed away and my son was diagnosed with cancer. I came to the Shelter through the VA Mental Health Line. My counselor at the Shelter is helping me to put my life back together. 15 The work of a volunteer is often thankless, tiring and heartbreaking. It is not easy to see the effects of poverty in person, to give respect and hope to those who sometimes have none for them.16 The Staff at the Center is so understanding and caring and helpful in trying situations. They taught me how to write a good resume, how to dress for an interview, even how to interview for a job.17 Please accept this small donation. I know what it is like to be homeless and sleep in store front doorways or under a bench. I was homeless in 1984, but not anymore!18 Anyone at the Center will tell you Al loves what he does because he matches what he is passionate about to the needs of others. No matter how difficult, he keeps the needs of others at the Drop-In Center in his actions every day.19 It is hard if you have never been homeless. If you can imagine, at 8AM, as cold as it gets, being out on the street, on your own, not because you want to, but because you got to.20 The Saturday meal is an opportunity to actually interact with those who are disadvantaged. Writing checks is important, but it is the one-on-one contact that really makes a difference.21 I wanted to thank you for allowing our class to visit the Center. It was memorable. It made me realize that people are in need even if they are the simplest things. This trip enlightened me and will be beneficial to me in the near future. Thanks again.22 Dear Homeless, I hope you get a home for Christmas. I’ll pray for you every day. I hope you get a present for Christmas. I hope you get money to buy a house to sleep in a warm bed. (7-year-old student)23 Because of the women at the Center, I want to reclaim my power and live life to the fullest. 24 Many people who come to the Center have not had the benefits that you and I take for granted. For example, many are truly hungry, sleep under bridges, live with constant fear for their safety, are imprisoned by addictions and mental illness, have little to no education or bring babies and children who are not bathed or clothed as your parents cared for you. It seems a miracle to me whenever someone is able to grow beyond all these conditions or experiences.25 It is a privilege to work at the West Side Catholic Center. The staff and volunteers are very committed to serving the homeless and poor of our community.
26 The West Side Catholic Center has always been a beacon of hope for those in need.27 Ken “The Dogman” Davis – our In-Kind Donor Services Coordinator, always includes these final words in his farewell, “thank you – be sure to keep bringing the love to us!”28 Thank you for being such great friends and helping me through my problems.29 The Zacchaeus Housing Solutions program gave me my dream. I learned how to do so much. Now I have a job that really pays and I can help my family.30 The Shelter offered a wonderful evening of etiquette training recently where we had motivational guest speakers and learned proper protocol. It was AMAZING! At the end, rack after rack of beautiful business clothing was brought in for the taking!31 The Zacchaeus Housing Solutions Case Manager recalls the joy written all over the client's face just knowing that one of the apartments would soon be theirs.32 Whether on the front lines serving food, providing clothes to our clients, behind the scenes answering phones or planning a fundraiser, we simply would not be able to fulfill or mission without our volunteers.33 For 36 years the West Side Catholic Center has been at the forefront of advocating for those less fortunate members of society. I am proud to have been part of this organization.34 As I walk around the Center, and observe the activity, I actually feel a sense of peace and endearment. All who come through the doors are welcome “to gather at God’s table, to sit and rest tired feet and take refreshment. A sense of dignity is present even though duct tape holds our wobbly tables together. The broken and worn chairs do not offend the weary."35 If I could sum up the West Side Catholic Center in one word, it would be HOPE.
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