Teamwork Made the Dream Possible

Teamwork Made the Dream Possible

In early August, a generous donor, “Joyce,” contacted our discipleship manager, Stephanie Bays. She and her late husband have been long-time supporters of Cherry Street Mission Ministries. Her husband is recently deceased; she is relocating to Cape Coral, Florida. Wanting to honor her husband’s memory and make a difference in another’s life, she donated all her furnishings and household items to CSMM.

Stephanie, Discipleship Manager and Kimberly, Community Sustainability Coordinator met with Joyce and noticed that she had little help and her closing date of August 25 was fast approaching. CSMM Staff rallied to assist Joyce in packing the household items and delivering them to the Life Revitalization Center.

Program & Services reached out to Operations for assistance in moving the large furnishings from Joyce’s home to two of our graduates’ new homes. There was enough furniture for both grads—Ms. Tijuana Sibby-Brown and Mr. Mark Khoury! Both moved into local senior living communities in mid-August.

Joyce closed on her home and left for Cape Coral, Florida on Friday, August 26. She was happy to learn that her generous donations helped to provide comfort and joy to two of our Ready for Life graduates. We wish them well and ask for God’s blessings on their journey. Thanks to all involved!

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Cherry Street treated me like family

Cherry Street treated me like family

Five years ago, Daryl Ribby was living as a guest at Cherry Street Mission Ministries, staring out the windows of the Life Revitalization Center, Hungry for Change.

On July 31, 2022, Daryl will celebrate his six-month work anniversary making Comfort Line® windows at a facility just eight miles from CSMM. In six short months, he has already earned a promotion to Line Leader, now overseeing the line that is manufacturing all of the windows for Cherry Street.

And that’s just the beginning.

Daryl’s boss and plant manager at Comfort Line, Matt Callanan, recalls vividly the day Daryl found out the company was awarded the contract to manufacture and install 519 new windows at Cherry Street’s LRC.

“His eyes lit up,” Matt said. “Daryl told me he used to be at Cherry Street. And I had no idea. Someone who was a guest here at Cherry Street is now making the windows we’re installing here today. That’s an amazing story.”

Experiencing homelessness came as a shock to Daryl at first, as it does to many others. He had experienced a difficult end to a relationship, and in the aftermath, he lost everything.

“I thought it was the end of the world,” Daryl said. “I was hurting. I didn’t think this would be me. But from the first day I got to Cherry Street, I told everyone this is going to be as short term as it can be.”

And he backed up that prediction – in a big way.

Daryl and his fiance, whom he met while they were both guests at Cherry Street, are now former guests supporting themselves, and supporting the community through the work they are doing week after week. And Daryl’s first visit back was the day he recently stopped by to see his shiny new windows replacing the existing opaque plexiglass windows that were installed many years ago.

“I made the best of my time here,” he said. “The people at Cherry Street helped me out tremendously. I appreciate all that everyone did for me. When I found out our windows were going here, I was so excited to help build them. I’m loving it.”

“The people that worked here treated me like family,” he added. “The conversations. Getting to know everyone. The comfort that this place provides makes it like home. But that’s the hard part. I didn’t want this to be my permanent home. Not that I didn’t like it, but I wanted my own place again.”

Daryl said he arrived at CSMM willing to listen to what the staff had to say. He was aware that “free advice – the good kind – is hard to come by,” and he understood the value of just sitting – and listening.

“Don’t be the only one talking,” he said. “Listening will be your best tool here. The people at Cherry Street are going to steer you in the right direction. Being here will change your life, if you let it.”

“There were points I thought, ‘what is my life becoming?’ But I’m a first-hand example, that there are a lot of very good people here. I’m still friends with alot of people I met here. This place will help you. Whatever help you need. Period.”

Back at the Comfort Line plant, Matt calls Daryl one of the best workers. He’s always smiling, has a great attitude that hasn’t changed a day that he’s been here. “Infectious” is how he describes Daryl’s positive affect on his co-workers.

In fact, Daryl has a new family, as he refers to his fellow employees.

“I’ve had a lot of jobs in 40-some years,” he said, “and this is the best. The management team is awesome, and my co-workers are awesome. We’re all a bunch of hard-working people who love doing what we do.”

Matt said “flourishing from within” is his company’s motto, and that they have many long-tenured employees with decades of service time. He added that he hopes Daryl is with the company a long time to come.

With the help of Cherry Street, an opportunity from a great local business, and Daryl’s determination, his story is just beginning.

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Faith and Music Sustained Joseph

Faith and music have sustained Joseph his entire life.

They sustained him throughout a career in the music industry during which he toured the world; they uplifted him when he found that he needed the shelter and nurture of Cherry Street Mission Ministries, and they continue to uphold him as his plans for independence advance.

Joseph is grateful for the services and amenities that Cherry Street has provided for him, for the staff who are always trying to make things better, and for the fact that Cherry Street is doing “everything they need to be doing in the community.”

Talking with Joseph is like breathing fresh air in this confined, COVID-filled world.  He has learned that no matter how much he has in life, he needs to remain humble. He should know. At one time he had it all—houses, cars, money. But he believes that he needed his Cherry Street experience to further his life journey.  Since being here, he has learned more about himself and about the reality that humility is a part of life.

Joseph did not leave music behind when he came to us. His professional experience was as a professional keyboardist, but he also plays guitar, bass guitar, trumpet and sax. He pretty much plays it all. And he has played it here at Cherry Street.

Joseph advises his fellow Cherry Street guests to have the mindset that their experience here is only temporary; they can “get out of there” to independence. He wants donors to know that, besides all the services and resources available here, Cherry Street gives hope.  In these days, hope is a precious commodity.

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Dionne Is Hungry For Change

Dionne found her way to Cherry Street after a diagnosis took away the purpose she’d known all her life.

Dionne grew up in a working family and learned to play her part contributing to the family income. From her teenage years through adulthood, she worked multiple jobs to earn her keep and sustain a life she enjoyed.  She liked to work. She enjoyed the hustle and productive hours spent making a life of her own.

After years of dedicated hard work, something began to feel off in her body. Something was not right.

Dionne visited the doctor’s office and was ultimately diagnosed with a crippling disease. Her physician recommended that she stop working and rest. Faced with the decision to continue working to the detriment of her health or be jobless for the first time in nearly 40 years, she thought of her grandkids and submitted her two weeks resignation.

She had a plan and began to adjust to her different life. One mostly spent with quiet days and visits from family. But as plans often do, things soon fell apart. Her safety nets dissolved and she got stuck in lengthy civil rights cases, leaving her awaiting for answers and resolutions. In all this pain, she wandered into situations and habits that she could hardly bring herself to mention. When she showed up to Cherry Street, the hurt in her eyes was deep and dark. Distance, distrust, and despair had wrapped their arms around her life.  But as she looks back now, she can see the faithfulness of God present through the darkest moments.

Many months later, though still stuck in legal battles to restore health and home, Dionne is a different person than when she first walked through our doors. After getting connected to mental health professionals and finding a sense of belonging, she is now full of joy, sometimes found singing and laughing on her way into the Mac Street Café. She reflects on how her lifelong relationship with God has looked different over time, but that she has found the promised peace of a life walking in faith.

Dionne eventually moved out of Cherry Street, into her own home where she continues to crochet and knit, has her favorite foods in the fridge and fills her time with visits from family.  She still faces daily battles to keep herself healthy and sustain her purpose in life.  We pray that Dionne will not have to walk back through the doors at Cherry Street again.  But if she does, we’ll be here to help.

This is what support from our donors accomplishes. It is so much more than Dionne finding a home- it means providing the opportunity to find oneself and the peace of God. It means getting connected to the right professionals to bring about health and stability. Without a safe harbor for Dionne in her darkest moments and a supportive team to help her lift her head, there would be no laughing and singing bursting from her heart, perhaps only heartache. Your generosity makes life change happen in your community, helping the hopeless find hope, and those who are hungry for change find more than they might ask or imagine.

Mark's Return to Civilian Life

Mark’s Return to Civilian Life

It is an unfortunate circumstance that many veterans who have served our country fall on hard times when they return to civilian life.  The effects of PTSD impact these individuals and often create struggles they never imagined they would experience.

Mark came to Cherry Street Mission Ministries fighting some of those battles.  After completing his service with the U.S. Army, he returned to the life he had coveted before.  He used his army skills to readjust and began a life outside of the military.  When his VA pension checks were repeatedly lost in the Covid-delayed mail, he experienced homelessness for the first time in his life.  Mark found his way to Cherry Street and began living by his motto “Get a job, go to school, do something to get back on your own.”  Being a permanent resident at Cherry Street was never Mark’s plan.  He worked towards his goal of becoming independent, employed and eventually went on to live on his own again.

Cherry Street advocates have been with Mark on his journey, walking beside him and helping him reach his goals.  They have helped him work with the VA to coordinate his benefits, receive vocational training to become a mechanic and prayed with him at his AA group meetings.  Cherry Street advocates are here to help with every step of the way.

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James Arrived Hungry for Direction

James arrived at Cherry Street Hungry for a Change.  Hungry for Direction.  James didn’t know what his future would hold.  He didn’t know if he could reconcile his wife, was battling substance use issues and wanted to restore his faith in God.  It also happened to be in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic.

With the help of advocates at Cherry Street, James was able to get mental health services from a partner within our building, navigate through the VA system, obtain his birth certificate, social security, ID and driver’s license, attend AA meetings and other group meetings…and most of all, restore his faith in God.  James moved out 1 year after he first came through the doors of Cherry Street… with a purpose and renewed hope.

James has experienced firsthand how God works through friends like you to provide neighbors in need with practical care and a sense of self-worth.  Services that lift people out of a state of need and into a place of self-sufficiency and renewed dignity.

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Jerry’s Story

Victor arrived at the door of Cherry Street without hope.

Victor arrived at the door of Cherry Street without hope.  His voice flat, his eyes glazed.  Victor talked about suicide.  Staff prayed with Victor.  Staff prayed for Victor.  As part of the Ready For Life program, Cherry Street got Victor connected to the appropriate services to help him and to support his mental health needs.  In a spark of inspiration (thank you Jesus for the idea!), the staff suggested to Victor the possibility of a service dog.  When a dog was first mentioned, it was the first time anyone had seen any life in his eyes.  Even though Victor is only going through the beginning paperwork- he has HOPE.  All it took was for someone to listen to him, to see him as Our Creator sees him, and to work the Ready for Life process.  Victor is Hungry for Hope.

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Amanda is Hungry for Hope

Amanda is Hungry for Hope.  Hope is an essential message at Cherry Street and was restored to Amanda with a renewed goal toward a stable life.

Amanda arrived at the Cherry Street door without options and low on hope.  She had her service dog and a bag of personal belongings.  In her time with us (during a pandemic, no less) she gained a fresh outlook and gained courage.

Cherry Street made it possible for Amanda to stay safe while she sorted things out.  She is now in a place of her own.  Gifts and supplies from the community allowed Cherry Street to provide Amanda food and household supplies to begin her renewed life.

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Who doesn’t love a success story?

Who doesn’t love a success story? Here at Cherry Street Mission Ministries, they are our reward, and we revel in the achievements of our guests. Most recently we are rejoicing in Elaina’s new start. She has been at Cherry Street since April 2020, and now she is gone! She just moved into her own apartment, and in the fall, she will be a student in the nursing program at The University of Toledo. Woohoo!

Elaina believes that the resources that she learned about at Cherry Street and the help she received to navigate through the complexities of accessing them have been major factors in her journey back to the community outside our doors. She reports that staff have provided support she never would have found anywhere else, especially staff members Ernie and Alison. Cherry Street has become her safety net, her support system. She now has a new perspective on her abilities and possibilities; she knows that a fresh start is not just possible but is within her reach. Although Elaina has been a Christian her entire life, being at Cherry Street has strengthened her faith. With the help of staff and another resident, she has worked through painful issues that she had been struggling with.

Although Elaina may not say or realize it, her success also comes from a quiet inner strength, strength that she brought with her to Cherry Street and takes with her into a bright future. The ministry of Cherry Street has helped Elaina walk in that strength.

Although most of you will never know Elaina or any of the many guests and residents of this ministry, you play as large a role their success as any staff member. Staff is on the ground only to the extent that your gifts allow them to be there. Our guests, residents, and staff thank you from the bottom of their hearts for all that you do through your gifts and resources. You are the best!