Catholic Charities Feast and Fellowship



















The Bishop Cosgrove Center hosted the former Hand Up Gala also known as the Feast and Fellowship today.  This year it was hosted by staff and a chef from Jacks Casino of Cleveland.  Really nice looking table and excellent food for low income people on the East Side of Cleveland.  Also really good jazz music during the meal. 

Brian Davis

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Second Hand Up Gala Gallery

We have posted a second gallery of pictures from this year's Hand Up Gala here.  We also did the drawing for the auction last week.  It was supervised by Community Shares staff to make sure that it was fair.  Seven out of the 16 prize packages will go to homeless people at the next Homeless Congress meeting. 

We also posted the First Gallery on our front page of our website.  We changed the front page so that important items can easily be found.  The picture here is Anthony's Mom.  She attended the Gala to see her son make some remarks about coming from the streets to a good solid job and housing.  Anthony was featured in the program book and had successfully graduated from our photography program. 

We will be sending out the prizes to the auction winners this week and we will have our wrap up meeting to plan for 2015. 

Brian Davis

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Still Time to Support the Hand Up Gala

The Gala was on October 17, but the auction drawing is not until the end of this week.  You still have time to participate.  Every $50 donated will get you a chance at a drawing of some wonderful prize packages.  There are signed footballs from the Cleveland Browns, tickets to the orchestra, gift certificates for Sherwin Williams paint, and movies, plays, concerts and sporting events.  We have designed some nice packages as part of the 20th Anniversary of Cosgrove Center.  You can donate online or if you drop your check at the office right now

This unique fundraiser does not require you to show up at special event.  It does not require you to get dressed up.  It does not require you to eat the same chicken dinner that everyone serves at fund raisers or listen to a boring speaker championing the virtues of the agency.  This fundraiser allows the population we serve to enjoy a fine dining meal in an environment that provides dignity and respect. It is a wonderful event for families, couples and single individuals to listen to some music, put a cloth napkin on their lap and dig into a Apple Cranberry Glazed Chicken Breast and wild rice.  All of this with City Councilmembers, County Councilmembers and Board members seating and serving these honored guests.  Your donation supports NEOCH and Catholic Charities's Bishop Cosgrove Center.

Brian Davis

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Hand Up Gala 2014 Successful

A Unique Event to Provide a Fine Dining Meal to Homeless People in Cleveland

        The Hand Up Gala (not a Hand Out) was held on October 17 to celebrate 20 years of the Cosgrove Center serving hungry people in Cleveland. Unfortunately, the media did not show up to see what a beautiful spread the staff at Cosgrove put together.  We have a gallery of photos on our website and a few on our facebook page. The Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless is a co-organizer of this event, and everyone I talked to enjoyed the event.   Loh, a member of the Homeless Congress, gave it an 8 out of 10, and we served over 200 homeless people.

      There were a lot of families with very young children at the event this year, which shows the huge increase in families over the last few years. The event could not be held without the hundreds of volunteers including Councilman Zach Reed and County Councilman Dale Miller pictured here.  Berghaus Flowers provided the center pieces decorated in fall colors, and we had two musicians, Amanda Walsh and Tom Hosna, who gave their time to make the event elegant.   There was a wonderful meal of chicken with an apple cranberry glaze prepared by Chef Sharon Delk and her staff.  Executive Caterers at Landerhaven provided the fine dining amenities that are not often experienced by members of the homeless community.

        Cosgrove Center has served hundreds of thousands over 20 years and is a critical component of the social safety net in Cleveland.  They are open in the extreme winter cold days and the hot July days so homeless people do not have to be on the streets during the day.  To assist with the celebration, politicians and board members of both NEOCH and Catholic Charities were on hand to act as greeters and servers.  We put together a program book to remember the Cosgrove Center and their 20 years which we will post online in the near future. 

       This year has been a year of celebration the Diocese of Cleveland’s Catholic Charities and the Bishop Cosgrove Center for twenty years of "Providing Help and Creating Hope.”  This event is also a fundraiser in which donors are entered into an auction of 30 local arts groups, sports organizations, and businesses who have offered tickets and gift certificates to support NEOCH and Cosgrove Center. We hope to raise funds to support the programming at the two organizations as we see more and more families showing up at our facilities looking for help.

    We will not be doing the drawing for the auction until October 29, so you still have time to participate.  You can make a donation on line or through the mailHere are the auction packages that we are distributing this year. This was the fifth Hand Up Gala and it went off without a hitch thanks to Nicole Evans and her fantastic staff.

    We have to thank the committee who worked since April to make this event special including Kimberly Miller, Nicole Evans, Randall York, Norman Wolfe, Gloria McCurdy, Sarah Novak, Terrel Valentine and Melissa Sirak.  Also, we have to thank Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Cleveland for funding the Cosgrove Center for 20 years and making day shelter an important part of the downtown community.  They have served millions of meals in those 20 years and provided hundreds of thousands bags of food to their neighbors all with a welcoming atmosphere of friendly staff.  It was a great event this year to celebrate the Cosgrove Center.  Thanks to Anthony Emory who came up from being a client to becoming a volunteer after finding stable housing for giving his testimonial about the value of Cosgrove Center at the event. 

Brian Davis

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You Can Volunteer for the Hand Up Gala

Do you want to help in one of the most unique events in our community?  On October 17th 2014, the Hand Up Gala will provide a fantastic meal to homeless and hungry people in our community? We need you to reserve your space to volunteer for the Hand Up Gala.  The event is at the Bishop William M. Cosgrove Center, and we need help serve a gourmet luncheon for 225 individuals experiencing homelessness in Greater Cleveland!

This year has been a year of celebration, as Catholic Charities-Bishop William M. Cosgrove Center commemorates twenty years of "Providing Help and Creating Hope" for some of the most vulnerable of our community. Throughout the year, there has been several functions honoring 20 years of service. The final event will be the Hand Up Gala, which is a gourmet luncheon for those individuals experiencing homelessness in Greater Cleveland.

Your help is needed to make this event a success! We are looking for volunteers to assist at this event as a host/hostess, server, or at the refreshment center. We have two volunteer shifts: 10:00 A.M.-12:30 P.M. and 11:30 A.M.-2:00 P.M. If you are interested in volunteering at this wonderful event please email Sierra Young at by October 10,2014. We have invited elected officials (not currently on the ballot) and media personalities to also help with this event.  Thank you in advance for your consideration to help with this event!

By Sarah

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Cosgrove Center Celebrates 20 Years

A daytime drop in center is an essentialservice in the community.  It keeps people out of the heat and out of the cold in the winter.  They provide a place for other social service providers to meet with people in need of help.  Cosgrove provides a gathering place for holding community meetings.  Staff can give some advice to homeless people about where to find housing or a job or a key contact who may be able to solve their issues.  A daytime drop-in keeps people from wandering around and getting in trouble.  They usually involve the distribution of food and a place to get a shower and shave.  They are so valuable for the community, and on Friday we marked the 20th year of the Bishop William Cosgrove Center. 

I was surprised that there were not a larger number of social service providers and government folks present to help celebrate 20 years of the Cosgrove.  On August 22 in the afternoon, staff and volunteers of the Cosgrove Center hosted a Mass at St. Peters and a reception at the Center.  I was surprised that every shelter did not send representatives to thank the Cosgrove for helping keep their clients safe during the day.  The City, the Police, the local hospitals, United Way, and subsidized housing programs should all thank the Cosgrove for their valuable work keeping people safe.  It was a nice service with a few volunteers and current and former clients in attendance.  There were current and former staff who celebrated 20 years of service to the community.  They gave flowers and recognized Bill and Lillian Switaj, two retirees married for 59 years, who help serve the population and pick up bread every week (pictured here with Nicole presenting the couple an award).

Bishop Richard Lennon officiated a Mass at St. Peter's church next door and said a few words at the ceremony at the Cosgrove Center.  Chef Delk prepared a nice spread of finger food and appetizers for the group.  There were a couple of former Erieview Catholic High School graduates who attended to see the converted cafeteria as the 20 year home of the Cosgrove Center.  The staff were recognized for serving around 500 meals everyday and providing clothing to hundreds every month.   They assist with identification, rent, pantry food, eyeglasses, housing and medical insurance.  Partners such as Care Alliance, the Veterans Administration, Homeless Legal Assistance, and the Homeless Congress use the Cosgrove Center on a regular basis.  We heard from the head of Catholic Charities, Patrick Gareau who talked about the Cosgrove as the cornerstone of the effort to meet the housing and hunger needs of the community. 

There was a testimonial from a former guest, Dr. Woods, and Anthony Emery was taking pictures of the event.  This was a chance for the Cosgrove staff to thank their many supporters including funders and volunteers.  Nearly everyday there are local businesses or church groups in the kitchen helping to prepare the meal or clean up after the food is served.  The Cosgrove could not exist without the hundreds of volunteers who keep the program running.  They keep the place looking nice and they provide that extra care to the guests who often have no idea where they will lay their head that night.  This scared and fragile group who come to the Cosgrove everyday want to see a smiling volunteer or a confident staff member with a strong shoulder to cry on. 

We recognize the valuable role of the Cosgrove Center in our community and congratulate them on 20 years of helping.   Next up in recognizing the work of the Cosgrove Center is the Hand up Gala set for October 17, 2014. You can click on the Hand Up Gala logo on many of the NEOCH website pages to see the details of the celebration. 

Brian Davis

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Bishop Cosgrove Center is 20 Years Old

I really like the Cosgrove Center, and believe that it is one of the hidden gems of Greater Cleveland.  The Cosgrove Center was a toddler when I started working at NEOCH, and they have always hired people with a deep personal mission to end poverty.  They take a great deal of care for everyone who walks in the door no matter their past crimes, mistakes, misjudgments or sins. They always have a place for you at the table.  Cosgrove staff take care of families, elderly, veterans and the unemployed.  They have volunteers almost every day helping with the food, serving or cleaning up.  They have professionals like Ms. Valentine and Ms. Evans who can provide good advice for where to get help in our community. 

After serving over 2 million hot meals and hundreds of thousands of pantry bags and providing thousands of identification vouchers, they are celebrating 20 years.  They are having a mass on August 22 that we have previously advertised here.  We are co-sponsoring the 5th Hand Up Gala on October 17 this year with the Cosgrove Center, and you can find more information on that here or by clicking on the Hand Up Gala 5 logo on most of our web pages.  Finally, if you want to help celebrate the Cosgrove Center's 20th Anniversary, you can take out an advertisement in the Hand Up Gala Program Book

We are putting together a Book for this year's Gala that will contain some history, a feature on one of the guests and will contain the menu for the event this year.  Everyone who volunteers or attends will get a copy of the book.  We will also have the book on our website.  It will have Congratulatory advertisements throughout the book from partner agencies, local businesses, and religious groups who want to thank the Cosgrove for all they do in the community.  Check out the page on our website about the advertisement book for more details. Give us a call (216-432-0540) or send us an e-mail [neoch (at) neoch (dot)org. ] if you want to place an ad in the program book.

Brian Davis

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Cosgrove Renovations and Celebration

You don't realize how valuable the day shelters are in the community until they are closed for renovations.  This week the Bishop Cosgrove Center is closed until July 18 to put in some much needed renovations of the kitchen area in place for the 20th anniversary.  Cosgrove Center was opened in 1994, and they have a series of events this year culminating in the fifth Hand Up Gala in October.

On Friday August 22, they are having a Mass and reception at 3 p.m at St. Peter's Church celebrated by Bishop Richard Lennon to mark 20 years.  The Cosgrove is asking those who plan to attend to RSVP to Kimberly Miller by calling 216/781-8262.  The program has served millions of meal and hundreds of thousands of individuals over the last 20 years.  There are thousands of volunteers (both corporate and religious) who have served a meal at the Bishop Cosgrove Center over the last few decades. They give out identification and assist people to find affordable housing.  They help with pantry food to the neighbors who are struggling to pay the bills.  They are always available with a shoulder to cry or some sound advice on where to find help.  At one time, the women's shelter was at Cosgrove and for a little over a year they were offering a dinner a the Cosgrove.  They serve a vital function within the landscape of Cleveland. 

We had the Homeless Congress meeting today with a light crowd because the Cosgrove was closed and we were stood up again by City Councilwoman Phyllis Cleveland.  The Community Centers, Libraries and Hands On NEO volunteers have been helping to provide food and a space for people normally at Cosgrove Center.  They have also seen a large number of families using the day shelter services this summer, and staff have been trying negotiate peace among all the different guests using the facility. Sharon, the chef at Cosgrove, serves around 85 breakfasts and around 180 lunches everyday.   The provide a cooling center in the summer and a place out of the snow every weekday during the winter.   Cosgrove staff host really nice meals for some of the major holidays, and we look forward to them reopening after the renovation.  They don't get enough credit or appreciation, but I know that homeless and low income people care deeply about the Cosgrove Center. 

by Brian Davis

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Hand Up Gala Final

Eight people won items in the auction and donated them to homeless people.   Three of the items were for Akron institutions (Symphony, Civic Theatre, and Museum) and we sent those down to the Domestic Violence Shelter for distribution to their clients.  The other five items were distributed today at the Homeless Congress meeting.  The tickets and the football all went over well among the group.  We had a record turnout of over 50 people attend the meeting today.   All the items from the auction went out to the winners.   All the thank you notes went out to every one of the groups that contributed to the auction. Thanks to everyone who helped out to make this event special.

We ran out of bus tickets agendas for the participants, and heard from Metanoia Project.  They are starting their winter overnight program this weekend.  We also talked about the great news that Medicaid will be expanded in Ohio.  The group talked about shelter regulations and the upcoming Homeless Memorial Day.  Finally, a group of women from Laura's Home attended the meeting asking for help from the Homeless Congress.  It was a good meeting.

Brian Davis

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Last Day for Hand Up Gala Donation

This is the last day that you can donate and still be involved in the auction.  We had over 200 people who enjoyed the meal.  The other aspect of this program is that it is a fundraiser for the Bishop Cosgrove Center and the Homeless Coalition.  All the proceeds raised are split between the two organizations.  The food and flowers and table cloths are all donated.  (Thanks to Executive Caterers for the china, table cloths and napkins--They were great.)  The proceeds from this extraordinary event go to preperation for the winter and the Transformational Art Center. 

We have some great gifts available including a football signed by Cleveland Brown Phil Taylor, a basket from the Chagrin Falls Popcorn Shop, and tickets to the Metropark Zoo.   Every $45 donation enters your name in the auction.  This is the last day to enter.  You can enter online here by just putting Hand Up Gala as part of your donation.

Brian Davis

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Flowers Make the Event

Six local florists donated to the Hand Up Gala, and they really transform the event.  We had some amazing collection of florists who contributed to this year's event.  Berghaus Flowers went above and beyond donating a large number of the centerpieces for this event.  They have helped us out for years on this event and we appreciate their assistance.  A new participant this year was Segelin's Florists over on Carnegie in the new Doubletree Hotel in University Circle.  They provided a number of wonderful arrangements with Asiatic lilies that a number of participants commented were striking.  We also must thank Monica's Flowers in Garfield Hts. for helping again this year as well as Lyndhurst Florist.

One interesting story from the Hand Up Gala was Gaines Florist.  They are over on Carnegie near the Lancer (previous victim of fire), and Gaines had a fire in the building recently.  The water damage temporarily closed their business, but Mr. Mason came in to put together the arrangements and fulfill his commitment.  He was great, and the arrangement he made was wonderful. 

Thanks to Norman who called and followed up with all the florists and got them to donate.   Thanks to all these local businesses for their help in the centerpieces.  If you are making decisions on where to buy flowers locally, please think about these florists who supported social justice and homeless services in Cleveland, and thank them for their helping to make the Hand Up Gala special.   We have been told that the fresh flowers that make this event unique. 

Remember, that the Auction takes place on October 30, 2013.  There is still time to make a donation to participate in the auction. 

Brian Davis

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