"The future will be different if we make the present different." - Peter Maurin
Peter Maurin, an immigrant from France, was the inspiration for The Peter Maurin Center. Peter and Dorothy Day together in New York City started The Catholic Worker newspaper in 1933 in the height of the depression. The perspective that Peter brought to Dorothy, a recent convert to Catholicism, was a radical following of the Gospel, at a time that he described as ‘chaos’. Peter is also well known for a compilation of his body of writings, known as his "Easy Essays". He inspired Dorothy to open a store-front facility to serve the multitude of hungry during the Great Depression. If you wish to know more about Peter Maurin, Dorothy Day, or The Catholic Worker, we recommend reading: The Catholic Worker Movement, Intellectual and Spiritual Origins by Mark and Louis Zwick.
The Peter Maurin Center, located at 1096 South Main Street in Akron, was purchased in February, 2006. This 1913 building had been a mortuary, bar, restaurant and most recently, a bar and grill. It had been vacant for ten years. It has a bus stop at the front door and is situated in one of the poorest residential areas of Akron. Following extensive renovation, the center opened in late November 2006. It has a second-floor, three-room efficiency apartment. The building was purchased as a result of a benefactor who had offered to help us purchase another house.
At the time our core members felt that another house would stretch our abilities and resources to staff it. The members did present another dream over dinner. Like Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin (who founded the Catholic Worker), they wished to have a “Store Front”, or as we call it, a “drop-in-center”. A place where people can come in to share a meal, but more importantly to find caring people who will “listen” and love them. Those two gentlemen liked the idea and graciously helped us to obtain it. Through the center we also try to provide resources for our friends, from transportation, medical, dental, clothing and needed household goods.