Dear South Side Champions,

One of our highest priorities as the Reeb Avenue Center team is to ensure that our neighbors and friends are being served in a genuine, relational way. We believe hope starts with connection and building strong relationships is key to building a strong community. To do that, we have been throwing parties, hosting meals, and enjoying holidays together as a South Side family! On Halloween, we hosted a “Trunk-or-Treat,” a safe alternative to door-to-door trick-or-treating that where more than 500 kids walked between decorated car trunks to receive candy. The annual Reeb Avenue Center Winterfest holiday party brought in over 1,000 families, everyone receiving a hot meal, hot chocolate, holiday gift, and holiday craft! We have also hosted a Thanksgiving celebration where we handed out hundreds of turkeys, a Mardi Gras trivia, and an Easter egg hunt at the adjacent park. This year we also kicked off our First Friday event, inspired by Westerville’s Fourth Friday, we host a family-friendly event at the Center every first Friday of the month!

Our Tuesday evening community meal hosted by the Mid-Ohio Foodbank’s Roots Café has been very well attended with about 200 meals served each week, yet often many more. On any given Tuesday our partners will attend and provide programming for neighbors alongside their meal. We have held vaccine clinics, Narcan training, services to receive medical insurance, arts and crafts projects, free phone services, benefits opportunities, job applications, and one on one meetings with our partners. This year the Reeb team developed a weekly-updated flyer with resources and events happening in and around the Center to further engage our neighbors. Each week has been filled with helpful resources, engaging activities, great conversations, and––of course––great food!

Our Love Kindness program is in its second year and has brought in over $10,000 in program revenue for the Center and supported 100 neighbors in need with more than two-dozen being taken on as full-time clients by our partners. In February, we hosted another Love Kindness card giveaway with The Champion Companies, who sent out 15 volunteers all around the South Side. They were equipped with 300 Love Kindness cards, boxes of chocolate, and resources for those in need. Since the giveaway, we have seen a major uptick in folks checking out the Center!

In March, the Reeb team started “resource meetings” at St. Mary’s school in German Village. We have been meeting with families in need and connecting them with the resources in our building that are just a few blocks away! Many of the families we met with were single-parent households, struggling to pay bills and could use the hand up our Center provides to take care of their family and the bright next generation of South Siders.

The Reeb team feels very grateful to have a continued impact on the South Side. We are excited for what the summer time and warm weather will bring!

Kindly,

Jenna LaBorde Dascenzo

Community & Partnerships Manager