According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, thousands of people experience homelessness in Ohio. Individuals tend to experience homelessness more frequently, though families are the
second largest group.

The Foodbank is fortunate to partner with organizations that provide support services for people experiencing homelessness. Friends of the Homeless is a shelter in Tuscarawas County and a member of the Foodbank’s hungerrelief network. It aims to address the very real, but unseen issue of homelessness not by treating it as a shameful condition, but by providing respect and dignity to people served and giving a hand-up when it’s needed. 

Friends of the Homeless is a unique shelter in that it offers accommodations for men, women and families, rather than just one population. Some shelters operate one day at a time, meaning individuals aren’t guaranteed a place to sleep for consecutive nights. But residents at Friends of the Homeless enter a 90-day program where they work with a case manager who offers support services, including job readiness, goal setting, securing housing and creating an exit strategy.

“I’ve seen so many positive changes in the people we serve,” said Phyllis Boice, the shelter’s maintenance manager since 2005. “When they leave here, they have a positive outlook and they’ve changed for the better. And we provide support even after they leave — we keep in contact with them to check in.”

Phyllis manages the food programs available at the shelter. Residents receive three meals per day — fixing their own breakfast and lunch, and then coming together for supper. Dinner is prepared and provided by community volunteers. The shelter also offers to-go meals every day for non-shelter residents, and a food box program for people in need of extra groceries.

Josh, 39, a shelter resident, is a recovering addict. He’s sober now and is working toward getting his life together so he can see his children again.

"Having meals every day is awesome. Just knowing I have a place to sleep and something to eat means everything.”

The Foodbank is grateful for your support of local hunger relief efforts! Your generosity makes all the difference for our struggling neighbors.