SOUTH BEND This year the South Bend Center for the Homeless celebrates 25 years.
The center opened in 1988 after a fire left 100 people homeless. It opened in an old apartment building with paint cans still on the floor, but for those families, it became home.
Since then, the center has grown from that one building to an entire block, including a children’s play area, athletic courts, gardens and a veteran’s center. The center has served 1.5 million meals to 55,000 people in its 25 years, and they are not stopping yet.
“I’d love to be out of a job tomorrow,” Chief Development Officer Taya Groover jokes, “if it meant breaking the cycle of homelessness. Whatever it takes, we’re going to do. We’re going to go with the times and make sure we’re serving the underserved as much as we can.”
The center offers everything from food and shelter, to education and internship opportunities. They do their best to prepare people for life after they leave the center.
“They are our alumni,” Groover says.
The need for their services is even greater during the cold winter months, and it’s volunteers who keep it going. The center is looking for everything from coats and blankets to socks and underwear.
“Everyone who walks through those doors makes a difference,” Groover says, whether its volunteers or guests in need of help.
The center also accepts monetary donations and big item donations, like cars and properties.
More information is available on their website, cfh.net.