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Published: 3/2/2013

Community donations help St. Paul’s shelter stay afloat

BY FEDERICO MARTINEZ
BLADE STAFF WRITER

An outpouring of financial support by Toledo-area residents will ensure that St. Paul’s Community Center will be able to continue operating its emergency shelter program for Toledo’s homeless through mid-March.

The community donated “thousands of dollars” to keep the program alive, John Irwin, the finance director for St. Paul’s, said Friday.

He declined to say how much money was donated.

“The community responded very well with donations,” said Mr. Irwin, who added that most of the donations were small, but they added up.

In early February, Executive Director Marcia Langenderfer announced that because of lack of funding, the agency would have to discontinue its “Winter Crisis” program on Feb. 17, potentially leaving hundreds of homeless people in the area with no place to spend the night for the remainder of the winter.

The program was being shut down early this year because of funding cuts, she said.

That prompted the Lucas County Economic Development Corp. to award a $15,000 grant, which kept the winter program operating through the end of February.

Donations by the community will ensure that the program can operate through mid-March, which can still have very cold nights, Ms. Langenderfer has said.

The “Winter Crisis” program provides overnight shelter for up to 50 people on a first-come, first-served basis. If the need is greater, the center tries to accommodate as many more people as it can.

Visitors sleep on cots that are set up every night in the lunchroom.

The program allows people to begin entering the center, at 230 13th St., at 7 p.m.

They are served soup and a sandwich and given access to shower facilities. In the morning, they get a light breakfast before they leave.

The center has a donation portal on its Web site, stpaulscommunitycenter.org.



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