Faith Mission Celebrates 50 Years of Service
The Faith Mission of Columbus celebrates 50 years of serving Franklin County’s homeless this year. The charity organization has gone through quite an evolution over the past half century, including overall growth in services and supporters.
“Our donors come from all over the community — all over Franklin County,” said Pam Georgiana, Director of Engagement for Lutheran Social Services of Central Ohio. “Helping us keep our doors open for 50 years — that’s a major accomplishment.”
When the Mission first opened its doors February 6, 1966, it was primarily used as a warming station and a guaranteed meal for the day.
“The programs have evolved a lot over the last 50 years,” Georgiana said. “The first night they had 12 people come in, and it was specifically for men. That was kind of the extent of it.”
Today Georgiana said that number has grown substantially, and their Community Kitchen provides about 700 meals per day to both adult men and women. Two men’s shelters and one women’s shelter provide a total of 237 beds for people experiencing homelessness.
“The average stay for most of our shelter residents is about 30 days,” Georgiana said. “We do our best to get them stable housing and a job, and move on.”
To prepare their clients for the next step, volunteers at Faith Mission help people build resumes, assist in practicing for interviews and provide job search tools, including access to phones, personal voicemail, a fax machine and bus passes. Other services help people experiencing homelessness become financially literate and navigate tax preparation, health coverage and child care assistance.
The evolution will continue, said Georgiana. Faith Mission is moving, and all of its separate shelters will soon be under one roof — right next door to its administration building on North Grant Avenue. Georgiana is unsure of when this move will happen, but she said the point is to make Faith Mission more easily accessible and conveniently located.
“As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of that first night of service, we recognize that Faith Mission has been fortunate to have had many dedicated local supporters help us keep our doors open over the years, not only with monetary donations but with countless volunteer hours,” said a press release by Lutheran Social Services of Central Ohio.
To thank community and congregation members, Faith Mission is planning a celebratory event for this summer. The date hasn’t been set yet.
“As of this point, we’re just celebrating as much as we can,” Georgiana said. “Just celebrating all year long.”
For more information, visit www.faithmissionofohio.org.
One way you can support Faith Mission is by attending the 2016 Urban Living Tour on Sunday, May 15th! You can have fun touring urban apartments and condos, and a portion of the proceeds will benefit Faith Mission. The Urban Living Tour has raised over $1,900 for Faith Mission since the annual event began in 2014. CLICK HERE to get your tickets for this year’s event.
All photos by Lillian Dent.