Cherry Street Mission volunteers serving up more than meals

A Cherry street volunteer putting together carry out meals.

Toledo, Ohio (WNWO)--

"Well I'm down here 3 days a week now 2 hours each day Tuesdays Wednesdays and Fridays," said Al Palmer describing his weekly schedule at Cherry Street Mission Ministries .

He's only volunteered 2 and a half years at Cherry Street, but you could say that Palmer is a giver.

"I've been volunteering a lot of time in various places," said Palmer.

His specialization is the skills lab, where he helps the homeless and community members master the basics.

"We have people coming into our lab, who are working on their math skills and their reading skills," said Palmer.

While It's not the most difficult job, Palmer says it is the most rewarding.

"They come in here thinking I can't do this, I can't do math or I can't do...we help them understand that they can do it."

It's the effort to give people skills that make them independent is what keeps Cherry Street working.

"We have volunteers that help with resume writing and job applications... ," said Community Coordinator Susan Graalman.

Each night they give 200 people a warm place to stay. Each day they serve 1,000 meals.

Amidst all they're service, they're also working to answer one question:

How do we end homelessness?

For them, the answer is through education and conversation.

"The main thing is relationships... having volunteers come in and having conversations with our guests and those in the community," said Graalman.

It's this philosophy they ask for from their staff, whether checking people in, volunteer nurses, or those serving lunch.

"I love being around peoples, and it's a lot of people's around, and I love it," said Lester Ingram, a new volunteer. He's only been at Cherry Street for two weeks, but already he says it feels like home.

Cherry Street is a homeless shelter by basic definition, but if you ask them, they're just helping people who've fallen on hard times.

"A lot of the folks that come through here don't have much confidence in themselves never have had it.We encourage them, we teach them that they can do something," said Palmer.

Interested in volunteering check out their website.

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