Peter Maurin Center (PMC) Mercy Ministries
The Peter Maurin Center (PMC) is an inner-city Drop-In site for disenfranchised folks, living in the very impoverished neighborhood of the Greater Summit Lake Region of Akron, OH. It was opened nine years ago, around Thanksgiving 2006. Several area Parishes were instrumental in the launching of PMC and over the years have continually provided an enormous amount of support for this ministry. The PMC Ministry has been a two-way street. We have been successful in enriching the journeys of many men, women and children that have come through the doors of The Center. On the other hand, The Center has provided many opportunities for our parishioners, and others, to “Preach their faith” as Saint Francis has said, “… without using words.”
When The Peter Maurin Center was opened, the vision was to build a place where folks went from being invisible and marginalized to being welcomed, relevant and part of a community. We planned on offering a drink of juice or coffee, provide a simple meal of soup or a sandwich, and most importantly, an attentive ear to allow those who visited us to express their comments and concerns. Well…
… Probably 120,000+ meals and thousands of visitors later, it is safe to say that we never saw this coming. During December 2015 we served at least 1,800 meals. That does not include those we serve when we go into the field nor does it include our support of after school activities for neighborhood students.
While we are not social workers, we can often direct those in need to resources that will help them. As we are approaching our 10th Anniversary, it would be good to update everyone on some of the achievements of The Peter Maurin Center and where there are opportunities for volunteers and donations.
The Peter Maurin Center is open to our guests on Tuesdays and Fridays from 11am with meals served between 1pm-3pm and Sundays doors open at Noon with meals served from: 1pm – 3pm. We are quite proud of the fact we do not accept any Government subsidies and rely solely upon individuals, organizations, and Churches to assist our Mercy Ministries.
Our Matthew 8:20 Ministry travels out into the field on Saturday mornings to accommodate those folks that, for one reason or another, cannot make it to The Peter Maurin Center.
Two to Four times a year, we support The Ignatian Spirituality Project, (1-2 Men’s Retreats and 1-2 Women’s Retreats), a program spearheaded by Father William Karg. The majority of the retreatants have had their lives sabotaged by some form of addiction. The retreats are aimed at spiritually transforming recovering addicts to help them to avoid or escape homelessness.
3 days a week a local church provides the meal for our visitors. St. Paul/Akron, St. Sebastian, St. Hilary, St. Mary’s/Hudson, Holy Family/Stow, Sacred Heart of Wadsworth, Our Lady of Guadalupe/Macedonia, St. Joseph’s/Cuyahoga Falls, Immaculate Heart of Mary/Cuyahoga Falls, St. Vincent de Paul/Regional, REACH Project, Ancient Order of Hibernians, and others are consistently serving our citizens that are most in need. We expect between 1,350 – 1,500 meals to be served each month.
For the past two years, The PMC facilities have been opened after hours and through the nighttimes whenever the wintertime frigid temperatures plunged to 10 degrees F or below. Between 20 and 40 persons spend the nights with us to escape the harm of the bitter cold. We opened approximately 25 nights each of the past two years.
Treasure to a person living on the edge is access to transportation. Most don’t have cars. Alex’s Memorial Bus Pass Fund was established to honor Alexander Stebbins by his family and loved ones. Bus Passes are made available to those in need for medical and legal appointments; for job interviews; and sometimes, during inclement weather, just to provide the warmth of a City Bus during winter weather. Hundreds of Bus Passes have been purchased and distributed since the fund was established in January 2015.
The new Peter Maurin Community Center was opened and dedicated in December 2014. We now have the ability to minister to those in need in an area separate from our Dining Hall. Some of those ministries include providing bicycles and bicycle repairs for our guests; providing clothing items that are seasonally appropriate to our guests; providing personal hygiene items and some medical screening; facilitating vision and dental services for our visitors; and just offering a place to enable our guests to be part of the community. If you look closely in the summertime, you can view the beautiful Community Garden between our two buildings. It was made possible through the combined efforts of Eagle Scout Joseph Horsch, a member of St. Mary Parish-Hudson; GROW Akron and The Peter Maurin Community!
During the school year, we work in the neighborhood with SWAG, (Students With AGoal). This is a community program to provide snacks, tutorial assistance and activities for neighborhood teens on Mondays thru Thursdays. By working with these young adults during after school hours, the goal is to bring some structure, discipline and mentoring to them in what might otherwise be unsupervised time when parents / guardians are still at work. Our good friends of Good Samaritan Hunger Center/Akron are providing the hot meals on Thursdays, beginning January 2016.
As can be seen, The Peter Maurin Center has become an integral part of the South Main Street Community (greater Summit Lake Region-Akron). From our humble beginnings, The Holy Spirit has provided for and enriched the lives of all those that walk through the doors – both the visitors and the volunteers. If you feel a calling to help with ministering to folks right here in our own backyard, and becoming part of The Peter Maurin Community, there are many ways in which you can support.
Volunteer – PMC always can use volunteers to assist with all of the different ministries. Please contact Jim Orenga (330-414-5639) for information.
The Peter Maurin Center is always in need of individual size Personal Hygiene Items such as toothpaste and tooth brushes; soap / shampoo / conditioner / body wash; deodorant; disposable razors and shaving supplies and feminine products.
Additionally, always welcomed are donations of cleaning supplies and “taxable” grocery items such as napkins, paper towels, toilet paper, plastic wrap and aluminum foil, food storage bags and containers, dish rags and dish towels, etc… Coffee, sugar and creamer is also treasured.
During the wintertime, we appreciate donations of winter clothing such as coats, hats, gloves, scarves, warm socks and long underwear. Tents, sleeping bags and blankets are also treasured.
We can always use additional help with the meal planning, preparation and the serving. Please e-mail Jim Orenga at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 330.414.5639 to receive information about this part of the ministry.
We always welcome Bus Passes for our community. Homeless people have places to go too. Either Bus Passes themselves or donations to Alex’s Memorial Bus Pass Fund are welcomed.
To support our SWAG Ministry, we can always use healthy snacks or help in preparing the snacks for the children. Contact David Churbock at Dchurbock8@aol.com or on 330-328-3199 for additional information.
Lastly, as the cold weather sets in, the request for assistance is heightened. Our resources are stretched and we can always use financial donations. Any size cash gift is greatly appreciated and very welcomed. Any donations can be sent to The Peter Maurin Center; P.O. Box 1105; Hudson, OH 44236 or please pay through our web site and secured Pay Pal page.
We have Blessed and been Blessed by all of the folks that walk through the doors of The Peter Maurin Center. Holy Family, St. Paul, St. Mary, St. Sebastian, Sacred Heart of Wadsworth, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Immaculate Heart of Mary, St. Vincent de Paul-Regional, St. Joseph’s, and St. Hilary Parishes are always remembered during our Prayers of Thanksgiving each time we gather at The Peter Maurin Center.
We offer reconditioned bikes to those in need. Our bikes are supplied by Cycles for Christ, Jon Polhamus, Hudson, Ohio.
Matthew 8:20 is a street ministry that is an outreach of the Peter Maurin Center. Matthew 8:20 volunteers meet every Saturday at 9:00 a.m. to prepare sandwiches, soup, treats, and drinks for the homeless and other poor in Akron. The volunteers arrive downtown at 11:00 a.m. to share this sustenance, as well as provide tents, sleeping bags, blankets, tarps, socks, gloves, hooded sweatshirts, thermal underwear, some hygiene items, and other items to meet basic needs.
One hundred percent of donations go directly to the needy. Matthew 8:20 is completely supported by volunteers. There is no paid staff.
SWAG (Students With A Goal)
The Peter Maurin (PMC) participates in an after-school ministry for teenage residents in the neighborhood with SWAG (Students With A Goal). This neighborhood has the greatest occurrences of dysfunctional family settings that lacks a positive environment necessary for wholesome development, resulting in self-destructive outcomes for most teen. For an emerging gifted and motivated teen, eventually "the street" begins to be a more appealing option each of their teen-developmental year . PMC supports the UCC Mission to tap into the latent potential of our neighborhood teen population. The Teen Center presents a unique setting for a holistic program of: Mind - rigorous academic tutoring; Body - teens learn to purchase and cook healthy meals and to participate in healthy physical program; Soul - Bridges Out of Poverty curriculum, mediation, and spiritual reflection groups. (refer to GET INVOVED for volunteer opportunities).
Drop In Center
The Peter Maurin Center offers hot meals three times a week. We open on Tuesdays at 10:15 for prayer and reflection. From 11:00 until noon is fellowship and refreshments. The meal is served from noon until 2:00 p.m., after which there is time for more fellowship and addressing the guests needs. On Fridays and Sundays, the doors open at noon for fellowship, music, and refreshment. From 1:00 until 3:00 p.m. the meal is served after a prayer.