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25th annual Tent City kicks off in downtown Toledo

CTY-TENTCITY27p-2013

Patrons line up outside the clothing tent at Tent City at Civic Center Mall during the 2013 event.

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The 25th annual Tent City event that brings awareness to homelessness and connects individuals in need to services begins today in Toledo.

“It’s all about people coming together,” said Ken Leslie, Tent City founder.

The entirely free three-day event kicks off tonight with a walk to benefit veterans at 6:30 p.m. in Promenade Park. The walk ends at Tent City in the Civic Center Mall, followed by a community dinner and live entertainment.

Saturday’s events begin with breakfast at 7:30 a.m. and runs all day, offering services such as haircuts and medical screenings until 4 p.m., followed by live entertainment. Free lunch and dinner are provided at noon and 5:30 p.m., respectively.

Sunday’s community pancake breakfast begins at 7 a.m., followed by a reflection service at 10 a.m. and closing ceremony at 10:45 a.m.

Mr. Leslie said dozens of organizations are participating in the effort to help Toledo’s homeless population of about 1,000 people, as well as more than 500 volunteers.

“We’re all human. We’re all community,” Mr. Leslie said. “It’s an incredible group of volunteers who are committed to just letting people know that they matter.”

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