Cherry Street Mission Ministries is more than a soup kitchen; it's a life vocational experience

For the past 75 years, they've made it their mission to help people by eradicating poverty one person at a time.

Author: Jeremy Downing

TOLEDO, Ohio — As anyone in immediate need of a helping hand knows, Cherry Street Mission Ministries can be a lifesaver, whether it’s a warm meal and a place to sleep on a cold winter night or a safe place for domestic violence survivors. But there’s much more to how they help our communities.

“We are able to do things that other small communities aren’t able to do. So we’ll have people visit Cherry Street to get healthy again and then go back to the community that maybe they came from or maybe they’ll choose a new community to go participate in.”

Cherry Street Mission Ministries CEO Ann Ebbert says for the past 75 years, they’ve made it their mission to help people by eradicating poverty in the surrounding 25 counties.

Ebbert says they usually see about 1,500 people a year, but in the last year and a half that help has become more in demand and they’re seeing an increase of about 30 to 35 new, first-time people a month.

“What we’ve seen is a remarkable increase in people coming to our front door who would be called first-time homeless. Right now we are seeing numbers that we typically see in the middle of February, which is our heavy, high season, as you can imagine. The pandemic really made it vibrantly clear that there are a group of people that have absolutely no other options.”

Help is always available, but the assistance Cherry Street offers is more than you might think since they are much more than just a soup kitchen.

Cherry Street partners with both Toledo vocational schools as well as Owens Community College to offer career certificates for career-level jobs to teach skills for jobs in welding, tool and die, auto manufacturing, office specialists and even job placement.

“Everything from soft-skills, like how to have good attendance and a good attitude, to how to do a resume and how to have a great interview.”

They also offer baseline healthcare, substance abuse help and mental health services and place an emphasis on creating healthy relationships; all of which are available to anyone in the community, not just residents.

“Because you can have all the skills but if you don’t know how to create relationships,” Ebbert says, “you don’t have the boundaries in your life that will keep you on track to use your skills.”

Cherry Street is also adding new training classes next year in the building and construction trades and will be partnering with Mercy Health and ProMedica to provide medical beds for people getting out of the hospital but don’t have a home to go to fully recover.

Ebbert says their mission to help others has a bonus, it also means helping themselves as well.

“That ability to look someone in the eye and say ‘we’re humans together and we’re going to work through this together’ is just an amazing experience to have as a staff person here.”

Cherry Street Mission Ministries currently has 65-70 staff members and 2,500 volunteers working 24/7 365 days a year and can always use more help in terms of donations and volunteering.

Thanksgiving at Cherry Street

November 9, 2021- TOLEDO (Ohio) – For nearly 75 years, Cherry Street Mission Ministries has served individuals who are hungry and experiencing homelessness in Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan.  Community members come to Cherry Street who need a bed, safety and maybe a special meal this holiday season.  Community members come to Cherry Street who are Hungry:  Hungry for Change, Hungry for a Career, Hungry for Success, Hungry for Direction.  Working together we can address the needs of those who are hungry and together we can start Feeding Futures.

Upcoming Thanksgiving Events:

  • 11.9.21 – 12.31.21 Volunteer sign up for Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons
  • 11.1.21 – Registration open for Dave’s Running Shop Turkey Chase
  • Thursday, 11.25.21, 7:00 am to 8:00 am – Autumn themed breakfast at Mac Street Café
  • Thursday, 11.25.21 @ 9:00 am Turkey Chase Thanksgiving Tradition begins.  Proceeds to benefit Cherry Street Mission Ministries.
  • Thursday, 11.25.21, 12:00 pm to 1:30 pm – Lunch catered by Real Seafood, served restaurant-style by Chick-Fil-A staff
  • Thursday, 11.25.21, 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm – Southern inspired dinner at Mac Street Café

Food donations and meal supplies can be dropped off at 1501 Monroe Street, off 16th Street at the Life Revitalization Center building Monday through Friday from 9 am to 12 pm.  If you need to drop off outside of these hours or have questions concerning donations, please contact Kary Jo Gribble at 419.214.3321.

Monetary donations can be mailed to: Cherry Street Mission Ministries, PO Box 9100, Toledo, OH 43697-9100 or you can donate online at

Volunteers will be needed throughout the day to make it a special day for all.  The community can make an impact on those living in poverty by donating toward the meals and volunteering their time.  For more information on volunteering contact Hallie at or at 419.214.3419.

BREAKFAST AT MAC STREET CAFÉ – 7:00 am to 8:30 am
Thursday, November 25, 2021 – 1501 Monroe St. Toledo, OH 43604
Located within the Life Revitalization Center, Mac Street Café will be serving pumpkin spice pancakes with syrup and cranberry glaze, muffins, scrambled eggs, sausage links, maple chicken and fruit salad.  Meals and celebrations are available to all Cherry Street guests.

Thursday, November 25, 2021 – Mac Street Café, 1501 Monroe St. Toledo, OH  43604
Lunch will be served in the Mac Street Café in the Life Revitalization Center.  Live music will be played, and lunch will be served restaurant-style by Chick-Fil-A staff and volunteers. Meals and celebrations are available to all Cherry Street guests.

DINNER AT MAC STREET CAFÉ – 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm
Thursday, November 25, 2021 – 1501 Monroe St. Toledo, OH 43604
Located within the Life Revitalization Center, Mac Street Café will be serving a Southern inspired meal.   Meals and celebrations are available to all Cherry Street guests.

Jerry’s Story