Twinsburg couple follow their hearts giving out of abundance
by Kim Garred (Reproduced from the March, 2013 Twinsburg Tribune with permission of ScripType Publishing Inc.)
Twinsburg residents John and Robin Legan have a roof over their heads, food in their stomachs and warm socks on their feet – much of which cannot be said of the many who frequent Project Save on 42nd Street and Lorain Avenue in Cleveland.
The couple is working to change that, from delivering toiletries, clothing and food to Public Square once a month to assisting patrons of Project Save, as part of their Hearts, Hands & Homes Outreach, or H3O, initiative.
“Many of the people we minister to are just like us, and they want to be thought of as people, just like everyone else, “Robin said. “We are there, once a month, to touch their lives and are touched by theirs.”
The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren was the catalyst for the beginnings of H30. Robin and two friends were involved in a study of the book and related scripture eight years ago and were prompted at the end of the study to “find a mission or ministry and put your heart and soul into it.” That is exactly what they did.
H3O is a ministry to help those who are homeless in the Cleveland area. More recently it has grown from clothes, food and essentials to furniture.
Joan Groening of Advent Lutheran Church in Solon organizes the furniture aspect of the outreach. Her son, a mechanic, also lends a hand by repairing and maintaining the 14-foot moving truck the organization purchased from a local realtor.
“The truck has made a huge difference in the amount we can do. We can now pick up and deliver furniture much easier and without scheduling issues,” John said. He takes care of most of the truck driving. “It’s not like a once-a-week deal here, it is day by day. There is something to collect, organize and redistribute all the time. It keeps us busy.” Steven and Donna Brandt have given half of their duplex to sorting and storing the clothing that is donated.
Three area churches are part of the process, as well as many volunteers. According to the Legans, “On average, we have 15 to 20 people who help in many capacities. The youngest of our volunteers was in first grade when we started. He is now a freshman and continues to help out. It was cool when the people we were serving found out it was his birthday one year; they circled him and began to sing happy birthday.”
Those who help with H3O are meeting with “60 to 80 people who come to us once a month when we visit Project Save,” Robin said.
“In so many ways you think you are helping them out and in so many ways they help you. A smile, a hug and listening ear is all they may need to feel whole again,” she said.
Over the eight years of outreach and ministry to the homeless in Cleveland, Robin and John remember two pivotal moments. One came in the form of an eye opener for Robin.
“I heard a conversation between two young men. The first said, ‘Well at least I have a roof over my head.’ To which the second looked at him and replied, ‘You live in your car.’ ‘Yeah, but it is a roof over my head.’
“Often the simple are taken for granted like, such as, little bottles of hotel shampoo, a pair of warm socks, a bologna sandwich and a roof,” she said.
And, while it is not often that you literally see a person give another the shirt off his back or the shoes off her feet, this has happened in front of the Legans on two occasions.
Robin also points out the positive impact groups like H3O can have in the lives of people witnessing its work. While in Public Square, visitors to the city often see the group in action. “I can’t tell you how many times people from the hotels would come down and ask us, ‘What are you guys doing down here?’ She said. “Wow, I thought that was pretty cool and it was a positive reflection on the city of Cleveland.”
If you would like to donate to the H3O outreach you can contact Joan Goening at 440-248-7360 for furniture donations and Our Redeemer Lutheran Church at 440-248-4066 for all other donations.
Reproduced from the Twinsburg Tribune with permission of ScripType Publishing Inc.