CLEVELAND — The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the homeless community in Northeast Ohio in a big way.
In the spirit of giving back, 3-19 Coffee Cleveland is teaming up with the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless and other local and national nonprofits to support them during this tough time.
The coffee shop has launched bag fundraisers on its website. Its partnering with 23 nonprofits and $5 from each specific bag sale will be donated to the nonprofit of the buyer’s choosing.
NEOCH’s Street Chronicle newspaper is also sold in both 3-19’s Ohio City and Shaker Heights locations. Every sale of the newspaper helps a homeless person keep a roof over their heads, like it helped Angelo Anderson nearly thirty years ago.
“I became homeless after becoming addicted to drugs,” Anderson said.
For more than eight years, Anderson didn’t have a place to call home and resorted to desperate tactics to stay safe on the streets.
“The last night I spent on the street I spent in a port-a-potty. It was in January, it was very very very cold. And I decided that enough was enough,” Anderson said.
After that, he booked himself a room in a nearby hotel to begin his road to recovery, something he was able to afford with money from the sales of the Street Chronicle.
Anderson founded the paper as the Homeless Grapevine, and it was then taken on as a project by NEOCH.
It's written and distributed almost entirely by people who are or have experienced homelessness, like Kim Goodman, who is now a board member at NEOCH and manager of the Street Chronicle. Vendors purchase the papers from NEOCH for 25 cents and sell them for $2.00, keeping the profits.
“I started out as a young adult. I was homeless. And I had just escaped, years of abuse and neglect. And I was struggling with standard employment. And I stepped into the NEOCH office really as a last resort. I said I needed money. I wanted a way to feed myself so I signed up to sell the paper,” Goodman said.
“I've been selling the paper for about 20 years. I started off just selling it out of desperation, but after I learned how to sell other merchandise,” Goodman said.
Vendors sell during business hours at the West Side Market and the newspapers can also be found at other shops in the Cleveland area.
“We think it's an amazing project so we love that it's here and that people can purchase it in our cafes,” Grace McConnell, regional manager of 3-19 Coffee Cleveland, said.
Back in June, 3-19 Coffee began selling the paper. They launched their bag fundraiser campaign in November, growing their partnership with NEOCH.
“With the pandemic going on, I realized that it was- homelessness would become more of a problem in Cleveland, so we were searching for different organizations to partner with locally,” McConnell said. “NEOCH definitely stood out to us online, because people aren't going to have places to stay for the winter, it's becoming harder with people gathering for the pandemic.”
Funding is critical for NEOCH, as shelters fill up quicker with COVID-19 guidelines in place and evictions continue to increase.
Goodman says she’s grateful for places like 3-19, because it means more exposure and more money to help those in need.
“It is another channel to get the papers into people's hands,” Goodman said. “And people can actually take the time to read the paper, and they might learn something from one of the people that decided to write or create for the paper.”
3-19 Coffee Bag Fundraisers: https://319coffee.com/collections/bag-fundraisers
NEOCH Street Chronicle: https://www.neoch.org/cleveland-street-chronicle
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