Local family’s gift opens new possibilities for Cherry Street Mission Ministries guests

The Feldstein family donated hundreds of products from their Sylvania-based business.

People who are experiencing homelessness are often outside in all kinds of weather. While many of us think about donating clothes, there’s another way you can help protect people in the elements.

An umbrella may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of making a donation to a shelter. A local family’s gift of hundreds of umbrellas to Cherry Street Mission Ministries shows how powerful the item can be.

It’s a simple gift with a big impact for those who come to Cherry Street for help.

“When we’ve had rainy days our guests might come back inside soaking wet after being out looking for a job or housing or going to a doctor’s appointment,” said Nora Riggs, Program Manager at Cherry Street Mission Ministries. “It can be defeating, one more thing against them. It’s something most of us take for granted.”

The Feldstein family donated hundreds of umbrellas to the mission this summer. Mark Feldstein and Associates develops products that are sold all over North America by major retailers and QVC. The list of products sold by the company includes inverted umbrellas.

“This is a simple gesture on our part,” said Howard Feldstein, Marketing Manager with Mark Feldstein and Associates. “It is not going to change the world, but we figured if we could provide something important to the guests at Cherry Street, that was something we were very glad to do. Normally, when people put their umbrella down their hands get soaked. Our umbrella inverts up so the water goes in the base of the umbrella, and all you have to do is drain it.”

Nora says the umbrellas provide much more than cover on a rainy day.

“It’s a tangible gift,” said Riggs. “A tangible item that says I see you and you matter. An umbrella can be a big gift It means a lot more than the item. It means someone cares. Someone is paying attention and they want you to be successful.”

Nora adds that it’s gifts like this that really help open up a whole new world for many of the guests at Cherry Street.

“It’s not often the big things that make a difference. It’s a series of small events or people that can add up to big change. One small gift, one person can make a difference. We have guests who just need someone to talk to, so you can donate your time as well. To have someone look at them in the eye is important to them.”

If you’d like to learn more about ways you can help, click here.