Tent City Returns to Toledo Oct. 23-25

Posted Oct 16th, 2015 by Sarah Ottney  Category: Community Interest, Events, Health, Services, Toledo.com


Annual Homeless Advocacy Event Aims to Serve Community’s Unhoused

TOLEDO, OHIO — Each year, hundreds of guests and volunteers flock to Tent City for hot meals, warm clothes, medical services, social services or a warm, dry place to sleep. But perhaps even more importantly, they gather to soak up the warmth and human connection that comes from a full weekend of community compassion and support.

Tent City, set for Oct. 23-25 at the Civic Center Mall Downtown, is hosted by 1Matters.org, a Toledo-based nonprofit sparked and supported by singer John Mellencamp, with a mission to leverage community compassion and deliver it to those on the streets and in the shelters, with the goal of helping people return to domestic autonomy. Last year, Tent City drew more than 1,000 guests and volunteers over the three-day weekend.

This year Tent City will kick off with a Parade of Compassion on Friday night. The Parade of Compassion, a free, 1-mile showcase of community compassion will be held at 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 23, starting at Promenade Park and ending at Tent City downtown. Area service organizations, nonprofits, schools, churches, and other groups are invited to walk wearing their shirts or carrying their banners to represent their organization.

A Mayor’s Forum is set for 8 p.m. Oct. 23. All seven Toledo mayoral candidates – Mayor Paula Hicks-Hudson, former mayor Mike Bell, former mayor Carty Finkbeiner, Sandy Drabik Collins (wife of late mayor D. Michael Collins), Toledo City Councilwoman Sandy Spang, former Toledo City Councilman Mike Ferner and Opal Covey – are expected to attend. The forum will be moderated by Keith Burris of The Blade and Lee Conklin of 13abc.

Project Connect, held 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 24, is focused on connecting unhoused guests with warm clothing, haircuts, hygiene items, medical and dental services, social services, veterans services, vital documents like birth certificates/IDs and more. There will be an expanded women’s services area at this year’s event. Of the 21 people who received mammograms at Tent City last year, seven needed serious follow-up appointments. An expanded children’s area will offer activities for kids during this time.

Live local music will be heard 7 p.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday, again hosted by Pat Lewandowski and Tom Kornacki. Dave Carpenter, Willie Rough, Tim Tiderman, Lorilee Ash-Green, Hand Hewn, Mudfoot’s Blues Cavalcade, Angola Road, AJ Szozda and The Blue Hook, and more are scheduled to perform.

Oct. 25 will feature breakfast, a church service and closing ceremony. A month-long clothing drive, which runs through Oct. 15, is collecting new and gently used warm shoes and clothing to be given away at Tent City. Men’s and plus-size clothing are especially needed, along with new, unused socks and underwear. Also needed are hats, gloves, sweaters, sweatshirts, jeans, sweatpants and more. Drop-off locations are Cherry Street Mission’s Lifebridge Center (former Banner Mattress Building), 3342 Monroe St., Toledo, and Crossroads 23 church, 6960 Sylvania-Petersburg Road, Ottawa Lake, MI.

To learn more about Tent City or to sign up to volunteer, visit www.1matters.org/tentcity.

About 1Matters.org
The first Tent City was held in Toledo in 1990, started by Ken Leslie, a comedian turned advocate who was formerly homeless. 1Matters.org was founded as a 501(c)3 nonprofit in 2008 after a visit by singer John Mellencamp. Mellencamp was moved by the collaboration of the community and invited all of the guests to his concert that evening where he talked with them from the stage. One guest returned to Tent City that night and said: “Ken, John talked to us from the stage, I guess I really do matter.” 1Matters was born.

Mellencamp and others in the music industry continue to support the organization as well as the group’s Veterans Matter program. Veterans Matter, an innovative program created to help 35 local veterans, has gone viral having housed nearly 800 unhoused veterans in more than 100 cities in 10 states and drawn the support of 20-plus musicians and celebrities such as Kid Rock, Katy Perry, Susan Sarandon, Gary Sinise, Dusty Hill of ZZ Top and many more. Including spouses and children, Veterans Matter has housed more than 1,100 people. The success of Veterans Matter earned Ken an invitation to the White House in 2014 as part of the Veterans Summit to End Veteran Homelessness.

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Sarah Ottney - 1Matters.org/Veterans Matter

sarah@veteransmatter.org | 419-360-1654 No Comments »

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