Standing Oaks of East Central Ohio hopes to open temporary shelter within weeks

| November 22, 2019

Joe Sanders and Kathy Robbins stand with donations for people who are homeless at Coshocton First Baptist Church.

COSHOCTON – Standing Oaks of East Central Ohio hopes to have temporary shelter open in the community in the next six weeks. The shelter will be in a location downtown and easily accessible to those who are homeless in our community. The shelter will be open each night during the winter months from 8 p.m. to 7 a.m. and hired and volunteer staff will be on hand throughout the night.

“It’s a good start,” said Kathy Robbins, president of Standing Oaks. “It gives us a chance to help people and share Jesus with people.”

The shelter will accommodate about 20 people, and the organization is looking for items that need to be purchased to make available for people seeking shelter at that location. They are also looking for people in the community who could staff the facility. Staff will work approximately 32 to 36 hours a week and go through three levels of training. EMS will train in CPR, first aide, and Narcan application, and a mental health agency will provide training as well.

“We will also provide training in how to be a good listener and have conversations with people, not to make promises they can’t keep, but to connect them with services available in the community,” said Joe Sanders, vice president of Standing Oaks.

Standing Oaks hopes to have a permanent facility for homeless in the community and is currently in the process of a three-year plan to make that a reality in Coshocton. Both Robbins and Sanders said that when applying for grants from the state, they are refused funding because there is no permanent shelter in the county for people who are homeless.

Donations from the community are also greatly appreciated. The organization has enough funding to provide the temporary housing but needs more to continue services. They have already received donations of items from members of the community that will be used for the temporary shelter.

“It’s been overwhelming and wonderful because this can’t be fixed by two people,” said Robbins. “I feel that the homeless in our community is the responsibility of those who live here. We are followers of Jesus Christ, and that is what we are called to do. It means a lot that the community is willing to pitch in and help because I think it’s a bigger issue than people realize. When you see how eager people are who respond, that just takes your breath away.”

Robbins collects supplies such as hygienic items, sheets, blankets, and non-perishable food for the homeless in the community. Last winter, there were believed to be about 40 people in Coshocton who were homeless.

“It’s just an incredible amount of people,” said Sanders.

The organization is asking for donations specifically for mats or cots that people can sleep on and for cleaning supplies needed to clean the facility. Monetary donations can be dropped off or mailed to Grace United Methodist Church, 422 Walnut St., Coshocton. Make checks out to Standing Oaks of East Central Ohio, Inc.

Donated items can be dropped off at NewPointe Church, Coshocton First Baptist Church, or 1690 Bow Lane, Coshocton. Items that can be donated include any non-perishable food items or snacks including drinks such as hot chocolate or instant coffee; self-care items, backpacks, tarps, blankets, coats, gloves, scarves; hygienic items such as wipes, deodorant, toothbrushes, hand sanitizer, shampoo, toilet paper, paper towels, tampons, pads; and miscellaneous items, first aid kits, small flashlights, antibiotic creams, tissues, nail clippers, mints, and notepads, pencils, and pens.

“We just want to give God all the glory,” said Robbins. “This project belongs to Him.”

For more information on how you can help, call 740-622-0300.

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Category: People & Places

About the Author ()

I have been employed at the Coshocton County Beacon since September 2009 as a news reporter and assistant graphic artist. I am a 2004 graduate of Newcomerstown High School and a 2008 graduate of Capital University with a bachelor’s degree in Professional Writing. I am married to John Scott and live in Newcomerstown. We have two beautiful daughters, Amelia Grace Scott and Leanna Rose Scott.

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