Food for the Homeless

The Need

Hunger and homelessness are stark realities in Franklin County.  During a census in 2011, more than 13,000 Ohioans were found to be homeless. Of these, 1,418 were in Franklin County, a number that increased by nearly 10% over 2008. Due to the harsh winter climate an estimated 86% are cared for in shelters while 14% live on the streets or in homeless camp.

I was hungry and you gave me food.  Matthew 25:35

The Response

The Newman Center has four ministries providing food and fellowship to more than 500 homeless men, women and children each month. These ministries are linked to shelters—at Faith Mission, the YWCA Family Center, the Friends of the Homeless Men’s Shelter and Open Shelter.

Watch the Food for the Homeless video

The Groups

Faith Mission

Faith Mission began serving the homeless in 1966 and today is the largest shelter agency in Columbus, providing separate Men’s and Women’s Shelters, the Community Kitchen, Case Management and Chaplaincy Services, and a Clinic and Business Resource center. It provides 24 hour emergency shelter to an average of 262 individuals daily and serves three full course meals, 365 days a year. 

Faith Mission relies heavily on volunteers, monetary and in-kind donations to provide these services.  The Newman Center has responded to the need by cooking and serving a dinner for the men at the Community Kitchen on the second Monday of each month for the past 20 years.  Through careful use of our resources and donations from our community, we are able to provide a hearty tuna noodle casserole, warm bread, fruit and homemade cookies at a cost of $1.75 per person.

To volunteer, choose a date below to sign-up online, or e-mail or on the bulletin board in the north lobby.  

YWCA Family Center

In Franklin County, homeless families are often sheltered at the YWCA Family Center. Of the 650 families the Center served last year, 70% were able to find more permanent housing within three weeks. Recognized by the National Community Development Association as a national model for emergency shelters, the Family Center is one of only four centers in the U.S. to offer such a high quality of support to families experiencing housing crises.

Newman Center volunteers support the YWCA Family Center by serving a hot meal one evening a month. To volunteer, please choose a date below and sign up to serve. You can also sign-up by sending an e-mail to or on the bulletin board in the north lobby. 

Watch the YWCA Family Center video

Manna in the Morning

Two Monday evenings a month, community volunteers meet in the Newman Center kitchen to assemble sack lunches for men living at the Friends of the Homeless Men’s Emergency Shelter.  The lunches are intended for men who are going to work and are in need of a meal to go.  The primary mission of Friends of the Homeless is to quickly find transitional or permanent housing, and to offer job placement and other supportive services. The shelter houses 130 men who can stay for up to 90 days. 

In addition to the Manna lunches assembled by Newman Center volunteers, lunches also arrive here from partnering schools and churches including St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, St. Brendan School in Hilliard and St. Matthew School in Gahanna. The Newman Center has been coordinating this Food For the Homeless ministry  for nearly 20 years, transporting thousands of lunches to men at Friends of the Homeless.

To volunteer on any of the following dates at 6:45 p.m., please e-mail:  

  • July 7 & 21, 2014
  • Aug. 4 & 18, 2014
  • Sept. 8 & 22, 2014

Open Shelter

Since 1983, Open Shelter has been providing vital services to those who find themselves homeless. More than 93,000 hot meals are served annually by Open Shelter and their community partners.  Other essential services provided are clothing, hygiene items, financial services, housing options and advocacy.

The Newman Center joined forces with Open Shelter more than 20 years ago, continually providing a hot, nutritious meal once a month at Broad Street United Methodist Church, the Open Shelter’s Day Services Shelter.  For about $1.75 per person, the Newman Center prepares and serves more than 100 hot meals on the third Thursday of each month. The meal preparation begins at 3 p.m. in The Newman Center kitchen. The meal is then taken to the downtown church where it is served at 6 p.m. No cooking skills are necessary, only the desire to share in a rewarding experience serving others.

To volunteer, please sign-up by choosing the date you'd like to volunteer (below) or please e-mail   


Faith Mission
YWCA Family Center
YWCA Family Shelter
Volunteers cooking
Making sandwiches
Photo - preparing dinner for Faith Mission
Food for the Homeless Volunteers