Donor Relations Coordinator Michael Solosky provided a tour of Haven of Rest Ministries, a homeless shelter in Akron, to demonstrate how they help people in need.
“Donor Relations Coordinator Michael Solosky provided a tour of Haven of Rest Ministries, a homeless shelter in Akron, to demonstrate how they help people in need.
Haven of Rest Ministries was founded in 1943 by Rev. and Mrs. C. C. Thomas. They felt strongly a calling to help the homeless. They stepped out in faith, not knowing where the funds to support the ministry would come from.
The shelter has had to relocate several times throughout the years due to the need for expansion. Since 1974, it has been located at 175 E. Market Street near The University of Akron campus.
The shelter provides meals, clothing and overnight shelter to anyone who needs assistance. All of this is provided free to people who come for help. All the clothing and over 80 percent of the food is donated to the shelter. Over 1,500 people receive free clothing each month. Meals provided average 600 per day, every day of the year.
People can come to stay just one night, a few months or even over a year if they choose. They can eat, shower, sleep and even receive mail and use the phone. Haven of Rest also provides help for those who have alcohol and drug addictions under their Resident program. There are classes and guidance offered finding employment for those completing this long-term recovery program.
Some of the classes the resident men and women take include nutrition, life application Bible studies, computers and more. If they do not have a high school diploma, they are prepared to take their GED test.
The resident men and women are taught job-seeking skills. They help people to build their resumes, find something nice to wear and teach them how to be successful at a job. Once they have saved up enough money to get their own apartment and are on their own again, aftercare staff is in contact with them as a means of emotional support and encouragement.
There are separate dormitory areas for men and for women and children. There is a Nurture Center for children to go when their mothers are in classes or counseling sessions. Employees at the shelter help to teach and comfort the children who may be frightened and not understand what is going on. There are after school tutors for children who are school age to help them catch up on their studies.
Usually when people hear the words homeless shelter, their minds automatically think of a small, dirty place. The Haven of Rest is very spacious and clean. It really is a remarkable place.
The shelter is open to anyone 24/7, 365 days a year. There are 90 staff and more than 600 volunteers.
The shelter does not seek or receive financial assistance from any government agency or The United Way. Most of the money comes from support from individuals, churches, foundations and the corporate community.
They are always looking for new volunteers to help out. There are a variety of volunteer opportunities. If interested, please contact Jan Pluck, volunteer coordinator at [email protected] or call 330-535-1563.