Akron woman helps homeless during COVID-19 pandemic

Posted at 6:03 PM, Dec 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-29 18:16:54-05

AKRON, Ohio — She’s been helping folks for years.

"St. Bernadette's soup kitchen in 1992, I was a freshman at the University of Akron,” said Lerryn Campbell, the advocacy coordinator at The Homeless Charity.

Since then, Campbell has been working with who she calls the house-less community.

"We’re here because these folks need somebody to call a friend and they need these items in order to make their day better or for survival,” said Campbell.

When the pandemic started, .the folks Campbell serves at The Homeless Charity in Akron were hit the hardest.

"A friend of mine came up with this idea that we could make handwashing stations and then we just started gathering vessels of any sort putting water in them and attaching soap containers,” she said.

Pretty soon, Campbell’s home became the spot for donations.

"It was really awesome, I would come home every day and there would be more items would show up on my doorstep, friends, family, that would come up with other creative ways that they could assist,” said Campbell.

It was working until the gifts started overflowing.

"We just moved what was happening on my doorstep, which is still happening on my doorstep, to a location where folks could come,” she said.

Now all the supplies Campbell is giving out live at 15 Broad Street in Akron.

The Homeless Charity was using it for office space, now it's a spot where folks needing a little help can drop in and get supplies.

"They definitely saved my life,” said Rob Pierce.

Pierce can’t say enough about what Campbell has done for him.

"I think if it wasn’t for her, I think everything would be completely different,” he said. "Anything you need here food, anything, they provide it, tents anything you need.”

Campbell encourages others to get involved because she says it's the little things that make the biggest impact.

"None of what we do is big right, it’s small it’s just small steps and kindness,” she said.

Additional Coronavirus information and resources:

See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.

Rebound Northeast Ohio News 5's initiative to help people through the financial impact of the coronavirus by offering one place to go for information on everything available to help and how to access it. We're providing resources on:

Getting Back to Work - Learn about the latest job openings, how to file for benefits and succeed in the job market.

Making Ends Meet - Find help on topics from rent to food to new belt-tightening techniques.

Managing the Stress - Feeling isolated or frustrated? Learn ways to connect with people virtually, get counseling or manage your stress.

Doing What's Right - Keep track of the way people are spending your tax dollars and treating your community.

We're Open! Northeast Ohio is place created by News 5 to open us up to new ways of thinking, new ways of gathering and new ways of supporting each other.

Click here for a page with resources including a COVID-19 overview from the CDC, details on cases in Ohio, a timeline of Governor Mike DeWine's orders since the outbreak, coronavirus' impact on Northeast Ohio, and link to more information from the Ohio Department of Health, the Cuyahoga County Board of Health, the CDC and the WHO.

See data visualizations showing the impact of coronavirus in Ohio, including county-by-county maps, charts showing the spread of the disease, and more.

The CDC and the Ohio Department of Health are now recommending the use of cloth face coverings in public to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Read more about the CDC's recommendation here. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to make a face maskfrom common household materials, without having to know how to sew.

View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.