CINCINNATI — A Cincinnati homeless shelter and nonprofit launched a new program this summer to get their guests’ hands dirty. The new farming co-op has already been a big success.
What You Need To Know
- City Gospel Mission and Our Harvest Co-Op came together to create a program
- City Gospel Mission shelter guests get a chance to be a part of the program
- Each day they’re out there, they have different tasks
- The hope is that each guest feels more connected with nature and each other
For Joseph Shaver, this is all new.
Shaver has been a part of the farming co-op with City Gospel Mission and Our Harvest since it started earlier this summer.
“Just being in a group environment it feels pretty stable out here and then you can keep your hands and your mind busy,” Shaver said.
Shaver has struggled mentally, but being out on the farm seems to help.
“I feel like my mind is stimulated and my hands are active and it gives me a different thought process,” he said.
And that was the thought process behind the new program: to allow shelter guests to get their hands in the dirt and connect as a group.
Josh McBride, the vice president of homeless services, has wanted to see this project come to life for several years. Now, he’s happy to be harvesting food right next to them.
“Kind of overseeing but also right there walking alongside everyone,” McBride said.
McBride said while he’s already seen a difference in those participating in the co-op.
“Guys that I’ve known for years that are involved in this program open up a whole lot more, be vulnerable,” he said.
He’s looking forward to seeing the long-term impacts of the program.
“We can be out here and help people but also do some research too to determine the actual impact that it’s having,” McBride said.
Shaver said in his nine months since seeking help with City Gospel Mission, two of those with the farming co-op, he’s already been able to get off all medications and has seen a big change in his mental capacity.
“These are people that truly care,” Shaver said. “They’re truly praying and they’re truly trying to help you.”