Toledo Mayor Mike Bell with his mother Ora.
Yesterday morning, I stepped out of my apartment and walked to the Sylvania Police Station when I noticed several white tents pitched on Maplewood Avenue.
As a reporter, I was surprised something was going on in Sylvania and I didn’t know about it. It looked like an important event, as trucks pulled up to Treo Restaurant and people dressed in all white busily walked from the tent to the restaurant's entrance.
After a couple of phone calls, I found out that it was the annual fund-raising event, Summer in Paris, which benefits Beach House Family Shelter based in Toledo.
A few hours later, I was glammed-up, make-up on, hair ironed, wearing a summer dress and heels that fit with the evening’s theme color white, and sitting next to Toledo Mayor Mike Bell and his mom Ora at a table in Treo Restaurant.
I love the way my day changed as a reporter, from government meeting to a gala. I also love reporting on Sylvania because the people are involved in their community and take note of worthy causes, such as the shelter’s aim to provide people in dire financial straights with a place to lay their head and to reorganize their life.
I have never been homeless, but I have been extremely poor as a freelance journalist. And it was less than two-years ago that I had to escape an extremely harmful relationship and move from Boston to Cleveland to live with my parents. Did I mention I have a master’s degree?
If it wasn’t for my parents, who would I have turned to? Many people don’t have family to rely on or to provide a home while they regroup during these tough economic times.
“Many people turn to a shelter at a critical time in their lives. It is a time to catch their breath and reorganize, and to take care of their families and themselves,” said Mayor Bell. He said that the Beach House, which has been providing a refuge for women and children since 1921, and today men, is important to northwest Ohio and the community.
Tammy Holder, executive director, said that looking back at the history of the house, there has always been a diverse population of homelessness in the community.
“We have assisted people with master's degrees, those that are laid off, and veterans,” she said.
Another economic drain on some is health care. She said that some people have become homeless because they have become chronically ill and lost their home due to health expenses.
The benefit dinner, drenched in white from the food to the champagne, has been held in Sylvania the past five years. Ms. Holder applauded Sylvania residents for supporting the shelter.
“Sylvania is a local community supporting a local shelter, and the residents are charitable and also involved,” she said.
For more information about the Beach House, 915 N. Erie St., Toledo, visit www.BeachHouseToledo.org.