ARCANUM — The Old Arcana restaurant in Arcanum launched its “Thanks For Giving Campaign,” Monday morning at a breakfast hosted by owners Leslie Handshoe-Suter and Chef Jeff Besecker.
The campaign, Handshoe-Suter, said, will benefit the Darke County Community Action Partnership (CAP) Emergency Homeless Shelter. She explained that she has asked some businesses to become partners in this project.
Carol Littman, representing the Darke County Community Action Partnership Emergency Homeless Shelter, was on hand to answer questions about the facility.
The homeless shelter is one of CAP’s key programs, and it provides emergency food and temporary housing for those who have become displaced or cannot afford food. The shelter, is funded by the Homeless Crisis Response Program (HCRP) Grant from the state, Darke County United Way and local donations.
Handshoe-Suter said through the Thanks for Giving Campaign, they are asking the local community to join them in supporting the shelter throughout the holiday season in three ways: Donation of needed items, by attending the campaign fundraiser and become a “Thanks for Giving Campaign” business partner.
The donated items, according to her, may be dropped off at The Old Arcana at 109 W. George St., Arcanum, during regular business hours now through Dec. 20. Evening drop-off hours will be scheduled once a week as well and will be announced in the media, she said.
She also reported that The Old Arcanum will be hosting a special collaborative “Multi-Chef Dinner” on Nov. 21, featuring a special menu by Chef Besecker of The Old Arcana, Chef Zackary Weiner of Rue Durmaine, Taste Olive, Brendon Miller of Lucky’s Tap Room and Eatery, Rooster and Nathan Heil of Pies and :Pints. A portion of the proceeds from the evening will be donated directly to the shelter. Tickets for the event are available online and at the restaurant.
To become a business partner in the campaign, Handshoe-Suter said she is is in search of area business partners to help spread the word about the shelter’s needs and expand the visibility of the campaign as much as possible. Businesses interested in becoming a partner may contact the restaurant at 937-692-0068 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Our goal is to get other businesses involved,” she said. “Already saying they want to help are Teaford’s Dairy Store in Greenville, Smith Coffeehouse Merchant in Arcanum and Arcon, owned by Tim Shellabarger.
Littman reported that due to age and normal wear and tear, the shelter is in need of additional assistance in the way of: Non-perishable food items for the community food bank; volunteers for structural and maintenance assistance to the shelter building; paint, flooring replacement, appliances and/or appliance repair; twin beds, dressers and a baby crib; twin- and full-zippered plastic mattress covers; twin- and full-sized sheets; bath towels and wash cloths; kitchen towels and dish cloths; laundry soap, personal hygiene and toiletry items; and diapers of multiple sizes.
For baby food, the mothers are referred to the WIC program at Family Health, since it expires.
“We have replaced a toilet and we now need to replace carpet,” she said. “We want to put down laminate. We also need a large capacity washer.”
She last year there were 81 individuals, 24 children using the shelter and this year they are already at 81 with 29 children.
“We now have two two-parent families staying there as well as a single mother and two men, one a veteran,” said Littman, who had formerly operated the shelter for eight years. “Single people can stay 14 nights and couples 30 days. We base that on what they are doing for themselves. We have all nationalities and all personalities.”
Littman said Metropolitan Housing actually owns the shelter and CAP pays the rent.
“It’s a family shelter,” she said. “We get calls everyday. Most families are from Darke County.”
Littman reported that every year people from CAP go out and physically look for homeless people to get a head count.
“It’s mandatory every other year, but we do it annually,” she said. “We went under bridges, to all-night laundromats and empty buildings. Last there, we counted 20.”
The Darke County shelter has been in existence since 1980. It has three bedrooms upstairs with eight adult beds, a bath and a half, and all share a kitchen.
Handshoe-Suter said this is the first campaign this holiday season, and it’s based on Thanksgiving.
“Our second one will be the same title but all amped to Christmas and louder in December,” she said.
Linda Moody may be reached at 937-569-4315. Follow her on Facebook and join the conversation and get updates on Facebook search Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.