The caravan pulls up next to Grace Park, each vehicle serving as a station for different supplies to help equip the area homeless for the cold winter ahead. One man, among a group walking over from the Haven of Rest shelter, expresses his appreciation and yells out to the others: “Let’s go get our blessings.”
The Akron Snow Angels kicked off a new season of giving, handing out warm clothes, hygiene items and food and, most importantly, sharing friendship for those residents facing situational homelessness and generational poverty.
Each vehicle serves as a different “station” for items, whether it’s undergarments, coats, gloves, deodorant, toothpaste, lotion or hand warmers.
Many of the group’s events include more than food: some missions offer free dental and medical care, haircuts and other services.
Much like its mission, this all-volunteer group relies on the generosity of others. For example, Jill Bacon Madden, owner of Jilly’s Music Room, has donated six months of free warehouse space on West Market Street, in a building that was formerly a Cadillac dealership. This location, with its garage doors, is ideal for volunteers to pull up their vehicles and load up supplies.
“It’s a wonderful blessing and will help get us through the mission season,” says Erin Victor, Akron Snow Angels founder.
The group prepared 200 meals for the recent weekend mission, which also added North High School as a second distribution point. “It’s taking us less time to load up and get ready because everyone knows what they’re doing,” says Victor, who adds that a location in Barberton is expected to be added.
The friendships and relationships are the most important benefits of the program, she adds. “Most importantly, lots of conversation, friendship, compassion, respect. We love to go out and see our friends. It’s been a couple months since we’ve all been out meeting them and seeing them. That’s honestly what we’re most excited for.”
The group is always in need of donations and volunteers. Visit www.akronsnowangels.com/donate for info.