1Matters.org http://1matters.org Mon, 25 Apr 2016 16:57:56 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Volunteers Needed for Upcoming Events! http://1matters.org/2016/04/25/volunteer-may-events/ Mon, 25 Apr 2016 16:43:13 +0000 http://1matters.org/?p=5072 No, it’s not yet time for Tent City, but there’s still plenty going on!

Toledo has really “adopted” our Veterans Matter program as a community cause proudly created in Toledo which has gone national. Several organizations in our area are having events to raise money for Veterans Matter this year, and there are a lot of exciting events coming up in May to volunteer at or attend.

Silver Star Event

flyer crop FB

The Silver Star Event is going to be an AWESOME night organized by Jordan Reses Supply Company in Ann Arbor, MI. There will be food, drinks and items for auction.

Ken will be speaking at the event, along with Dr. Chad Audi from Detroit Rescue Mission and Cpl. “Bur” Pulliam, a formerly homeless veteran.
Get all the details here.

Cinco de Mayo at Te’kela

The Cinco de Mayo fiesta at Te’kela in Perrysburg, OH, will be raising funds for Veterans Matter and we need volunteers to help man it!

We’ll have a pepper-eating contest, selfie booth, raffles and even a pinata! Sign up to volunteer here.
Can’t volunteer? We’d still love to see you there for the festivities!

Color for CamoColor for Camo Run/Walk

Some fantastic high school students with Youth Leadership Toledo have planned the first-ever Color for Camo Run/Walk to house homeless veterans. The 2-mile run (or walk) will be held May 7 at 10 a.m. at Fossil Park in Sylvania, OH, and there’s still time to register – it only costs $20.

Please come out and support the kids supporting our veterans! Get more information here.

Ohio Springfest at the Stranahan Theater

The Stranahan in Toledo is hosting the first annual Ohio Springfest May 12-15 and they’ve asked us to work one of the beer tents, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting Veterans Matter. Of course we said yes!

There’s going to be live music, a petting zoo, carnival, fireworks and more – we can’t wait! Want to volunteer with us?

33rd annual Ohio Rib Off

This one isn’t in May, but we still want to get it on your radar.

The 33rd annual Rib Off is August 18-21, with proceeds to benefit Veterans Matter. If you wish to attend and volunteer for four hours before or after you “pig out” just let us know!

“But I Am So Hungry” http://1matters.org/2016/03/21/but-i-am-so-hungry/ Mon, 21 Mar 2016 16:13:12 +0000 http://1matters.org/?p=5058 What do you do when hunger and inequality are staring you in the face?


Dinner was served at the Upper Class table.

The Third World Family Feast, hosted and presented by students at St. Ursula Academy, presented that dilemma to guests last week. The interactive dinner was designed to make people uncomfortable and get them talking about world hunger. It was a huge success on this and every measure.

Based on the Oxfam Hunger Banquet model, the table was set for a dozen guests, complete with roses, candles, linen, silverware and mood music. They were served a first-class dinner – salmon, butternut squash ravioli, salad and cake – courtesy of Mancy’s Bluewater Grille. This symbolic 15% “Upper Class” feasted as the rest looked on.

Representing the “Middle Class,” 35% of the guests were served Vito’s pizza, cookies and Kool-Aid for dinner as they sat around spartan tables.

The balance sat on the floor and shared a “feast” of plain white rice and water, which they had to get themselves. We say “feast” because in so many parts of the world it truly would be.

As guests entered, the luck of the draw determined their class. It was eye opening to see the various reactions. After all had dined and the upper class had finished their various deserts there was an open discussion and observations were shared.

Some guests had complained when they learned they would have to eat plain rice. Negotiations began to “trade” spots. A child loudly protested not getting pizza, and louder when she noticed the cookies.

Most of the guests who were served pizza didn’t offer to share until after they ate. They then offered up the leftovers.

The upper class offered up what they did not like.

Sharing salmon.

Sharing salmon.

Both groups returned to their assigned “class” seating after sharing. Only two chose to sit on the floor and eat with the people they shared with. They were friends who came together.

When given salmon, some of the guests on the floor split it among themselves and mixed it in with their rice, making it go further.

When a man from a middle class table offered to trade places with a boy on the floor, the boy turned down the offer because it wouldn’t have been fair to his sister, who was also on the floor. The offer was then made to a second boy, who happily accepted.

This was the second year the Third World Family Feast has been held at the school. It was organized by a group of students who wanted to raise awareness of the fact that 870 million people in the world don’t have enough to eat. Many others are living just a paycheck away from not knowing where their next meal will come from.

This isn’t just a problem in developing countries; it happens right here in our community.

Caught trying to trade his salmon for pizza.

Caught trying to trade his salmon for pizza.

Proceeds from the free will donations will go to purchase food for this year’s Tent City, taking place October 23rd to 25th. Our first planning meeting is July 21st and all are welcome to join us. We’d love to see you there!

Perhaps the biggest and most powerful lesson from the evening is how important the motive of giving truly is.

We queried one teen from the upper class who was offering salmon to those with pizza – after bypassing the guests on the floor who had only rice. When asked, he claimed benevolence and denied his motive was to “trade” for what he wanted. But then others in the upper class shared that he had proclaimed securing pizza was his intent for leaving the table.

And when the cookies were opened, the boy who had been offered a seat at the middle

Sharing his cookies with the lower class.

Sharing his cookies with the lower class.

class table took his table’s package and passed them out to those on the floor beneath him. When asked why he did it, he said he thought it would make them happy, and they deserved to have the treat.

He again reminded us of the one implacable truth: Every 1Matters.


RSVP now for the Third World Family Feast http://1matters.org/2016/02/18/rsvp-now-for-the-third-world-family-feast/ Thu, 18 Feb 2016 19:40:52 +0000 http://1matters.org/?p=5048 Family Feast2

What are you doing for dinner on March 16? How about a feast for the entire family?

The second annual St. Ursula Academy Third World Family Feast will be held at St. Ursula starting at 6 p.m.

This enlightening interactive dinner is a social experiment to raise awareness and start a dialogue this Lenten season about world hunger and poverty – and why we should care.

The event is planned by a group of St. Ursula students who believe in compassion and it’s open to the public. Bring the whole family!

The best part is the cost: Free! But we gladly accept free-will offerings. The money raised will help pay for food at this year’s Tent City set for October 21 – 23. .

What will be on your plate?

Come hungry and you’ll be in for a treat!

What are you waiting for? Reserve your seat at the table here just to give us an idea of how many first-class meals to prepare.  This is open to all, and we hope you come.

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!