By Denise Dick
The dignity afforded less-fortunate individuals by the Dorothy Day House of Hospitality prompted a Youngstown State University student group to launch a donation drive for the organization.
The Bachelor of Social Work Student Social Work Association at YSU is sponsoring a clothing drive for the Belmont Avenue house.
“We look for programs we can help in the community in the best way we can,” said Krista Brawley, president of the association.
Brawley, who plans to be a social worker, said the Dorothy Day House’s mission for social justice and the way it provides help to people in the community who need it, appealed to association members.
New men’s and women’s crew socks, T-shirts and underwear may be taken through April 2 to the Department of Social Work, Room 3030A in Cushwa Hall at YSU. Information is available by contacting Brawley at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All sizes are needed, especially T-shirts and underwear in medium through extra- extra large.
The Dorothy Day House of Hospitality, 620 Belmont Ave., provides an evening meal, coffee, a safe place to relax, show accessibility and a chance to plant and harvest a garden.
It’s named for Day, a United States journalist turned social activist who, along with Peter Maurin, founded the Catholic Worker Movement in 1933. The movement supports nonviolence in the pursuit of justice and hospitality for the impoverished.
“So many of the people who first come in here, you see such diminishment of human dignity,” Sister Ann McManamon said. “They don’t look you in the eye; they look at the floor.”
Dinner is served from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and Sister Ann said as many as 100 guests sometimes attend the meal.
Showers are available from 2 to 4:45 p.m. Tuesdays, and patrons receive a bag containing shampoo and other toiletries. The items collected through the donation drive will be offered to the men and women after showering.
By offering those services, the house offers a bit of restoration of the dignity that some unemployed, underemployed and homeless people face, the sister said.
Volunteers Mary Grace Manning and Ceil Schlosser, both nurses, are in charge of the showers.
Before the Day House opened, homeless people who wanted to take a shower had to travel to a truck stop and pay for one.
This is just the latest project of YSU’s social-work association, which also has completed community-service projects at Beatitude House and the Rescue Mission of the Mahoning Valley.
At the Rescue Mission, the students hosted a beauty day for the female residents, applying makeup and painting their fingernails.
Brawley said that experience was touching as she watched women who were initially mistrustful allow their guard down.
“Then they went ‘shopping,’” she said. “We had probably six tables filled with products they could choose from. They were ecstatic at the end.”