1Matters.org http://1matters.org Thu, 28 Jan 2016 15:07:41 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Save the Date: Tent City 2016 planning meetings announced! http://1matters.org/2016/01/14/save-the-date-tent-city-2016-planning-meetings-announced/ Thu, 14 Jan 2016 18:04:08 +0000 http://1matters.org/?p=5012 TC STD 11

The holidays are over, and a new year means a new Tent City to plan!

Well, we’re planning to plan. It may be only January, but we’ve set the dates for our Tent City 2016 planning meetings.

Every October we gather in downtown Toledo to serve, to show compassion to those who often see none. Check out photos from last year.

Think of it as a weekend-long one-stop shop of compassion, connecting the area’s unhoused with resources and services, from medical exams to haircuts and food and clothing. But it’s more than that. It’s about fellowship and community and having fun.

And we couldn’t make it happen without the work of amazing volunteers!

So whether this is your tenth year at Tent City or your first, you can get involved early by coming to the planning meetings.

In fact if you are new, we would LOVE to see you!

Meeting dates:
July 21
Aug. 18
Sept. 1
Sept. 15
Sept. 29
Oct. 13

The meetings are held at 7 p.m. at the Westgate Building, 3450 W. Central Ave., Toledo, OH (it’s next to Sears and across from Costco).

If you’re ready to matter to those that matter – and have fun in the process – be sure to join us starting in July!

Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for updates.

Give the Gift of Vital Documents This #GivingTuesdayNWO http://1matters.org/2015/12/01/givingtuesday/ Tue, 01 Dec 2015 17:30:44 +0000 http://1matters.org/?p=4964 GivingTuesday_NWO_FBCover1M_WEB


First there was Black Friday, then Small Business Saturday, then Cyber Monday.

Today is Giving Tuesday.

#GivingTuesday is a global day dedicated to giving back. Here in Northwest Ohio, we’re participating in #GivingTuesdayNWO. On Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015, charities, families, businesses, community centers and students around the world will come together for one common purpose: to celebrate generosity and to give.

After all the great deals and holiday savings, today is a chance to pause, reflect and support the local nonprofit(s) of your choice.

Participating local charities, including 1Matters.org and Veterans Matter, have the chance to receive matching funds up to $1,000 from the Toledo Community Foundation for all donations made TODAY. Donations must be made (not just pledged, but made) on Dec. 1 for the gift to count.

1Matters.org is a Toledo-based nonprofit sparked and supported by singer John Mellencamp, with a mission to leverage community compassion and deliver it to those on the streets and in the shelters, with the goal of helping people return to domestic autonomy. 1Matters.org’s annual Tent City draws more than 1,000 guests and volunteers over the three-day weekend, where people can gain access to food, clothing, medical services, social services, haircuts and friendship.

It’s happened to all of us. We’ve forgotten our ID and been turned away. Imagine if you didn’t have one at all. Imagine trying to get a job or a home without the most vital of documents.

The need is huge.

Funds raised on Giving Tuesday will be used to help people obtain critical documents (birth certificates and IDs). These documents are perhaps the item in highest demand each year at Tent City. Without them, people cannot get a job, services, even food or shelter. Last year, we were quite limited in capacity. This year, we provided $2,500 for critical documents at Tent City, but still had to turn people away.

Donations to either 1Matters.org or Veterans Matter count toward our goal of $1,000 in donations on #GivingTuesday. Donations specified to 1Matters will stay with 1Matters and donations specified to Veterans Matters will stay with Veterans Matter to help us house veterans and veteran families waiting for housing right now.

Any matching funds (up to $1,000) we receive from #GivingTuesdayNWO will be used toward helping people obtain critical documents.

Please consider making a donation to 1Matters.org on Dec. 1. This is a unique opportunity to help us double $1,000 of our donations and be 1 who matters to 1 who matters.

Click here to donate!

-Ken Leslie

PS We’d love to hear from you! Take an #UNSelfie (download and print the template here) or tag us in a post about why you decided to donate on #GivingTuesdayNWO


Tent City Clothing Drive Kicks Off Sept. 15 http://1matters.org/2015/09/02/tent-city-clothing-drive-kicks-off-sept-15/ Wed, 02 Sep 2015 17:21:44 +0000 http://1matters.org/?p=4890 TC Clothing Drive FLIER

Wanted: Your Gently Used Clothes!

Have you or your family outloved your clothes? We’re getting ready to kick off our annual Tent City Clothing Drive September 15-October 15. Your new and gently used items can clothe our community’s most vulnerable, including children.

Tent City is looking for jeans, coats, sweatshirts, hats, gloves, warm shoes, sweaters, sweatpants, long johns and more. Men’s and plus-size (XL and XXL) clothing are especially needed, plus NEW, unused socks and underwear.

Drop-off locations are:

  • Lifebridge Center (former Banner Mattress building), 3342 Monroe St., Toledo, OH. Hours are Tuesday-Saturday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., or during clothing sorting hours Monday-Thursday 4-7 p.m.
  • Crossroads Church, 6960 Sylvania-Petersburg Road, Ottawa Lake, MI. Hours are Monday-Thursday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. or Sundays 9 a.m. to noon.

We’re also looking for volunteers to help sort donated clothing during the month leading up to Tent City. Sorting takes place at the Lifebridge Center Monday through Thursday 4-7 p.m. September 14-October 22. Volunteers are also needed to help out in the clothing tent during Tent City October 23-35.  Click here to sign up.

Dozens of local schools, businesses and organizations are partnering with us to collect clothing this year, including the VA, Humana, University of Toledo Bridge Club, UT Greek Life, Zoo Teens, Proclaim FM, ProMedica, Mercy, Whitmer, Washington Local, Springfield, Start, Perrysburg, St. Francis, St. Ursula and more.

For those who wish to donate money toward the drive instead of clothes, checks can be mailed to 1Matters.org Tent City Clothing Drive, 3450 W. Central Ave, Suite #108, Toledo, OH 43606.

You matter. Thank you!

TC ClothingSort 2

Calling All Volunteers! Tent City Sign-up Now Open http://1matters.org/2015/09/01/tent-city-calling-all-volunteers/ Tue, 01 Sep 2015 19:22:27 +0000 http://1matters.org/?p=4868 tent city teaser 2015

Calling all volunteers! The 2015 Tent City volunteer sign-up sheet is now live!

Each year at Tent City, hundreds of volunteers pitch in to serve as guides, meal servers, part of a setup or tear tear-down crew, in guest or volunteer registration or at the donation tent. This hands-on service can change lives: both yours and our guests.

We also need volunteers to help sort donated clothing during the month leading up to Tent City, starting Sept. 14. Sorting takes place at the Lifebridge Center (former Banner Mattress building), 3342 Monroe St., Toledo.

Anyone interested in sorting clothes (September 14-October 22) or becoming a part of the volunteer team for this year’s Tent City (October 23-25) can click here to sign up.

Tent City planning meetings will be held at the Westgate Building, 3450 W. Central Ave., Toledo. This is the office building right next to Sears, across from Costco. Meetings will be held every third Thursday of every month (next one is Sept 17) leading up to October’s date, along with a meeting on October 1st, October 15th and a recap on October 29th. We’re always looking for volunteers, so everyone is encouraged to come down to help out and meet the incredible team that makes it happen!

We couldn’t do this without you. Hope to see you there!


SATURDAY MORNING COMMUNITY PICNIC IS FOR YOU http://1matters.org/2015/08/07/saturday-morning-picnic-is-for-you/ Fri, 07 Aug 2015 13:49:32 +0000 http://1matters.org/?p=4849 Would you like to be a part of a community celebration? Would you like to touch the hearts of multiple people; to let them know they matter?

This Saturday August 8th at 10 am, the otherwise vacant lot, next to the downtown Toledo Library, will be transformed into a center for compassion and community. The official kickoff of the “Saturday Morning Community Picnic” begins! There will be clowns, games, music, and as always, food.

The “Saturday Morning Community Picnic” provides those who are hungry, food every Saturday. Anyone is welcome to come down to enjoy the comradery, no one is sent away because of their social or economic stature. With the departure of “Food for Thought”, the previous sponsor of the program for eight years, management of the “Saturday Morning Community Picnic” has been given to those in the community who have participated in the picnic for years. People, who will, no doubt, bring the picnic to its next level of delivering compassion.
For years, rain or shine, the “Saturday Morning Community Picnic” has convened. It has truly become a family picnic among a community. The idea is not to simply “feed the hungry,” guests can go to any shelter in Toledo and get a free meal. It is, instead, an opportunity for people both housed and unhoused to have the chance to become part of a community. A community, that meets every Saturday to have a great time and eat some food. The thing most people need is the understanding that they matter to, at minimum, one person. In the end we are all human beings, we should all be welcomed and treated with dignity and understanding.

It is a person’s compassion for others that we admire so highly. The unmeasurable need for people to give back to others, even if they have so little, is a human quality that makes our species as a collective whole, truly indefinable. Even at our darkest times and greatest struggles, people still find ways to give back to their community as needed, and at times even more. And as we have found, when you’re sincere in your message, people will always find a way to come alongside to help.

To sum up, we aren’t asking for any donations, whether it is clothing, food, or money. If you do feel the undying need, any or all of those can be given towards this year’s Tent City that will happening in October. We just ask for you to only bring yourself, your heart, and your good spirit this Saturday to celebrate the official launch of the “Saturday Morning Community Picnic”. You will have an opportunity to meet unique individuals who will completely touch your heart and make you want to keep coming back every week.

Just answer this question; If you could help change a person’s life for the better, just by donating an hour of your time every Saturday, wouldn’t you? We hope to see everyone down there at 10 am this Saturday!

How Has Compassion Become Illegal? http://1matters.org/2015/07/21/how-has-compassion-become-illegal/ Tue, 21 Jul 2015 01:14:25 +0000 http://1matters.org/?p=4830 And Why Toledo is So Incredible!

How the hell did we become a country that allows the criminalization of compassion? Seriously. People can now be thrown in jail for feeding the hungry.

One man, a 90-year-old veteran in Fort Lauderdale, was arrested because he ran a picnic similar to our Saturday Morning Community Picnic.

Let me put this into perspective. You or I can have a picnic in Fort Lauderdale and invite anyone we want, except the unhoused and working poor who also attend.

According to a report recently released by the National Coalition for the Homeless, 21 cities have taken legislative action and 10 more are in the process of placing restrictions on feeding “the homeless.”

Where is your outrage?

Why are all Americans allowing legislatures to do this?

Where are all the Christians? Why are churches in Fort Lauderdale not uniting in protest to protect their true religious freedom? Why don’t they defend their right to feed “the least of these?” Why the hell can’t anyone stand up to stop this trend?

They can, but they won’t. Because it’s “just the homeless,” that is why. Your silence tells leaders you don’t want “them” to be seen either.

If they were banning the feeding of “homeless veterans” instead — which in fact they are — then there would be moral outrage. But since it is “just the homeless,” we allow it.

Why has this scorn for the poor become acceptable? Even a political agenda?

I recently heard the characterization (from Guy Garvey, lead singer with Elbow) that the rich treat the poor as if they were pirates trying to steal their bounty. Most of the working poor became working poor because of corporations’ continual efforts to increase profits by reducing wages. In the past 20 years, we have seen the systematic layoffs of those workers who make the most money, replacing them with people who make less. So the terrible irony is those who are creating the poor are the very same ones who now condemn them for being poor and for being homeless.

I give about 50 talks a year to local, regional and national groups and I always ask the audience, “What are the stereotypes of those who are homeless?” They give the common answers: alcoholics, mentally ill, druggies, lazy, smell bad. And I agree with them. I know at least one unhoused man or woman who is at least one of these, and I even know a couple who are in the “all of the above” category.

But I ask you now to think and look around: How many of you know a friend, coworker or family member who is an alcoholic? Or mentally ill? Or a druggie? Or lazy? Or who smells bad? Everyone knows someone who is at least one of them, and some know people who are in the “all of the above” category.

What is the difference? Why is it only when humans are fully exposed, unhoused and on the streets, vulnerable like turtles without a shell, that we believe it OK to just STOMP on them, to smash them? Why, when people are at their lowest, do we deny them not only the food, but the community that comes with that food?

Many cities are trying to justify the hatred by saying that feeding the hungry just “enables homelessness.” That’s a smokescreen. The truth is, being there regularly creates a community that grows to friendships that week after week builds the relational and spiritual esteem for those who need it.

Basically it tells guests and volunteers alike, “You Matter!”


That’s right, it is not about food. For example, our Saturday Morning Community Picnic does not “feed the hungry” in the classic sense. Within half a mile in any direction anyone can find a free breakfast or lunch. The Saturday Morning Community Picnic feeds their hunger for community and to feel they matter. We KNOW people, both housed and unhoused, come to see their friends, both housed and unhoused. And we know that for all of us, guest or volunteer, when you feel you matter to no one, just go matter to someone.

The Saturday Morning Community Picnic is no longer called Food For Thought. In fact, FFT has pulled out completely and is no longer bringing its lunches. In a statement, the group said: “Food for Thought is proud of its eight year sponsorship of the picnic on Saturday morning, but, at this time, has decided to give operation and management of the picnic to the community. Food for Thought plans to continue its engagement of others through the distribution of sandwiches and fresh food, and is grateful for the ongoing commitment of the partners to the Saturday morning picnic.”

We will be having a celebration of the official kickoff of the Saturday Morning Community Picnic on August 8 at 10 a.m. with clowns, games, music, and of course food and community.

The management team is led by the groups that have been participating on Saturday morning for years, some since the beginning.

First thing we did was survey our guests on what this means to them. We then built a structure, definition, standards and universal volunteer training. We have now re-defined our efforts to solve, as Dan Rogers, CEO of Cherry Street Mission Ministries, puts it, “relational and spiritual poverty.” Not just the guests’, but ours too – the volunteers.

It truly is a picnic in every sense of the word. The Saturday Morning Community Picnic is at 10 a.m. every Saturday, rain or shine, in the lot next to the downtown library. We rent that parking lot every week and have now done well to define it.

Essentially it is now a true family picnic. If it is not something you would do at your family picnic, it is not something that is allowed at ours. For example, you would not let a group bring down a bunch of clothes; drop them on the table and leave, right? That’s why we no longer allow the distribution of clothes. Anyone who needs some can get them for free at the Cherry Street Mission’s LifeBridge Center. Instead we encourage volunteers to bring down a jump rope, chalk, cornhole or just a good spirit.

Oh, and as the bag lunches became an important aspect of the picnic as the “to go” food for those immobile at home who were not able to come down, they will continue. The Bridge at the University of Toledo will be providing the lunches every other Saturday that school is in session.

I once heard a guest ask a volunteer why he had come down. The volunteer said, “To provide dignity to those who come.” The guest replied, “You know, most of the people who come down here already bring their dignity with them.”

Fact is, I and so many others, guests and volunteers alike, go there just for the camaraderie and the friendships, and hopefully impact each other’s lives in positive ways. I can tell you those at the picnic; both guests and volunteers, have impacted me in so many positive ways.

Every week I go, I make it a point to shake the hand of every person in line for two reasons: the first to make some lame, funny, or smartass comment to make them laugh, smile and know they matter. And the second, to be there to help anyone who is in need, to point those who need money to Toledo Streets newspaper, those in need of shelter to Cherry Street Mission Ministry and those in need of love a big, huge hug. Sometimes, that is all that is needed. To know you matter. And you know what? That is the same reason many of the guests come down. To be there for anyone in need.

And to us this is the coolest thing: The Saturday Morning Community Picnic is SUPPORTED by our community, a community that is getting recognized locally and nationally for its compassion. That is a good thing to be recognized for. Arresting a 90-year-old veteran who just cares about people is not.

This is why Toledo is so incredible.

Join us on August 8 at 10 a.m. for the Saturday Morning Community Picnic celebration.

You are part of the family.


Tent City Coming Up! http://1matters.org/2015/06/17/tent-city-coming-up/ Wed, 17 Jun 2015 16:20:05 +0000 http://1matters.org/?p=4818 tent city teaser 2015



Anyone interested in becoming a part of the volunteer team for this year’s Tent City October 23 – 25? Meetings will be held at the Westgate Building, 3450 W Central Ave Toledo, Ohio 43613. This is the office building right next to Sears, across from Costco. Meetings will be held every third Thursday of every month (July 16, Aug 20, Sept 17) leading up to October’s date. Along with a meeting on October 1st, October 15th, and a recap on October 29th. We’re always looking for volunteers, so everyone is encouraged to come down to help out and meet the incredible team that makes it happen!

Event this Friday! http://1matters.org/2015/03/04/event-this-friday/ Wed, 04 Mar 2015 15:08:44 +0000 http://1matters.org/?p=4793 3rd world fb banner

We are having various events through the year to help raise money for Tent City 2015! This particular event will benefit the Food Team to allow them to serve better food to our guests.

If you have never been to a hunger banquet, you are in for a real treat! Join us Friday, March 6th at 6PM. St. Ursula Academy will be hosting the event. Come for an interactive (free) meal, and support Tent City!

We will have activities such as a 50/50 before dinner is served. By random, you will be given a meal to display the global distribution of wealth. After there will be a reflective interactive talk to address the separation, and how the guests felt during the meal.

Spread the word, you won’t want to miss this one!

Dine 419 http://1matters.org/2015/02/24/dine-419/ Tue, 24 Feb 2015 15:01:49 +0000 http://1matters.org/?p=4782 Dine419_Logo_FlagBG

Dine 419 has officially begun! We would like to take a moment to thank all of the restaurants involved for supporting Veterans Matter. All of them have meals you can order with proceeds housing more veterans. Noted next to the restaurants are the items that benefit Veterans Matter!


  • Black Pearl – Prime Rib, Chicken Alfredo, Tilapia Veracruz, Ruth’s Sirloin, Jumbo Shrimp, and more!
  • The Blarney Irish Pub- Dinner for two- Pick one Appetizer, two entrees, and one desert
  • The Burger Bar 419- Three Little Pigs, Slamon Salmon, Atomic Dog, Cheese Pig, and more
  • Final Cut Steak & Seafood- 6-ounce Wagyu ribeye, smoked ricotta risotto, brown-butter wild mushrooms and maple bordelaise
  • Scene- Slow-roasted bone-in beef short rib with pan jus sauce, creamy Golden Yukon mashed potatoes, and butter sautéed Broccolini
  • Take 2 Grill- Barbecue chicken-fried steak sandwich
  • Jed’s Barbeque & Brew- All Fireballs
  • Jim Shull’s Rib Cage- Barbecue Baby back ribs, Chicken and ribs, Shrimp and ribs
  • La Scola Italian Grill- Lasagna, La Scola Trio, Tuscan Chicken, Chicken Cacciatore, Shrimp Marsala, and more!
  • McDonald’s-Grilled and Crispy Chicken Deluxe sandwiches
  • Table Forty4- Fire-roasted bruschetta, Peanut butter bacon burger, Chicken rigatoni
  • Ye Olde Cock n’ Bull- Classic Pub Burger, The Downtowner, Black Bean Burger
  • The Beirut
  • Forrester’s on the River
  • Byblos
  • Poco Piatti
Collins Cared http://1matters.org/2015/02/07/collins-cared/ Sat, 07 Feb 2015 23:12:37 +0000 http://1matters.org/?p=4771 CollinsMattersMemorial_1000x523

Because he mattered to those who matter.

I cried yesterday, just as many of you across the community cried because we lost a dear friend.

Not a friend, but a dear friend. That’s Mike. He had the ability to makes us feel like dear friends, didn’t he? We just knew he cared.

And he was a very dear friend to those in need. We all know for the past six years there has been turmoil in funding policy for the unhoused. One group felt we should close the shelters, and the other group felt the shelters needed to be there to act as landing pads for all citizens who fall through the cracks.

Mike Collins was one of the heroes who stood up for the unhoused, who stood up for the shelters, who fought – and I mean fought – to ensure all Toledoans had a place to go when times get desperately tight.

And he fought hard in standing up with Renee, Denise, Paula, Steve, Lindsay, Tom, and others on City Council to provide the funding for the shelters to continue operations. This is all public knowledge.

But it is the behind the scenes things he did that proved “Collins Cares”.

One day I got a call from Councilman Collins that the city had found a man camping in the woods in South Toledo. Mike wanted me to know so we can go out there and see if there was any way we could help him return to domestic economy.

On another day with another call, Mike alerted us that the city would need to bulldoze an area where one of our friends had been camping out. He wanted to give one week notice so we would be able to help the man relocate, hopefully to a shelter. When it became apparent we needed another week to be able to get that man mentally ready to go into St. Paul’s, he got us that other week.

There were other calls like that because, well, Collins Cares.

I told a friend after one of those calls that Mike was just a true Prince of Compassion. Most of the time when politicians call for help it’s usually for one of their family or friends. But with Mike all citizens, housed or unhoused, were his family and friends.

When we went to the White House last summer he told everyone we talked to about how special Toledo is in compassion. But I guess they already knew; that was why we were there.

If you distill politics to its essence, it is nothing more than a group of allies working to get another ally elected to execute policy to benefit business, the environment, personal gain, public welfare, or other agenda. To do so, politicians create promises and slogans conveying whatever messages are necessary to gain the three seconds needed for you to push the ballot lever next to their name.

With compassion as one of our strongest values and assets as a community, we knew “Collins Cares” was not a political slogan, it was just a statement of fact. And after he was elected he executed his policy of caring. Those who had chosen policy over compassion quietly resigned. Our community then returned to what it has always been: A compassionate community working together for all citizens, housed and unhoused.

He appointed a Director of Neighborhoods with an amazing ability to bring people together for the greater good.  All of the shelters and programs started working together without acrimony. Funding decisions are again being made based, not on favoritism, but rather a laser-like focus on what’s best for the people we are trying to serve.

Collins Cares.

I consoled a friend yesterday with the words, “Remember, the degree of pain for the loss equals the degree joy from the love. More love equals more pain. It is in the love that we all win.”

But imagining the degree of pain his family and closest of friends feel hurts even more. We lost a dear friend yesterday, but others lost a husband, a father, a grandpa, and best friend. We pray for their peace.

All of us lost a champion who fought for every one of us while he served in the Marines, on the beat, or in government.

I love you, D. Michael Collins. You taught me and our community so much. I loved fighting alongside you. I loved caring with you. Tonight someone is sleeping in a warm bed in a warm shelter that may have been closed and cold but not for YOUR power of compassion.

You will be remembered as a true Prince of Compassion. Thank you so much, Michael. Thank you.