Last year, a record number of women--83--sought shelter at Cherry Street Mission Ministries. On August 19 this year, the group announced a 20 percent increase: 98 women.
"Imagine nearly 100 guests showing up at your door to seek safe refuge," said Dan Rogers, president and CEO of Cherry Street Mission.
In 2009, Cherry Street's numbers began increasing by double digits and they have not dropped since. Rogers attributes the steady increase to the economy, which many can testify has not rebounded in Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan.
The number of men seeking shelter, averaging 152 men per night, has not seen a dramatic increase over last year, but continues to be more than in years past.
Extra guests mean more meals, more laundry detergent, more cleaning supplies, more towels, and more personal hygiene products, all of which are provided free to our guests.
"Being able to have the bare necessities of a bar of soap may seem like such a small thing, but it can provide comfort and the first step to life transformation to the woman or man who just left everything behind and is trying to start again," Rogers said.
Although extra guests are stretching the ministry's resources, Cherry Street Mission Ministries will never turn anyone away.
"It's not in Cherry Street Mission Ministries DNA to turn people away. It goes against the core of our mission and existence," Rogers said. "The increase in ladies can be challenging at times, but we trust that God will provide the additional resources we need."
To help Cherry Street Mission, visit cherrystreetmission.org to make an online donation or obtain a list of items the shelter needs to house and feed guests.