Helping Hands of St. Louis to open dining room, needs new stove

Press Staff Writer

        After a nearly 15-month hiatus, the Helping Hands of St. Louis Dining Room is scheduled to re-open, once again providing hot dine-in meals. Guests picked up take-home meals, distributed outside, during the COVID-19 pandemic.              Helping Hands free meals will be served between 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. beginning Monday, June 21 in the basement of the old St. Louis Parish school located at 443 Sixth St., Toledo.
        The bad news is, the Helping Hands of St. Louis Kitchen’s 15-year-old commercial stove needs to be replaced, and fast.
        “Our stove burners work, but our ovens no longer hold a constant temperature,” says Sue Shrewsbery, director of Helping Hands of St. Louis. “We had them recalibrated recently, and it obviously didn't work.”
        Chef David Smith, Helping Hands new food service specialist, has seen this happen in other kitchens where recalibrated ovens may work for a few days and then go right back to not working again. He can use the griddle and burners on the 15-year-old stove, but not the ovens.
        “We have a freezer full of turkeys and other meat we’re eager to prepare and serve, but we can’t use the two ovens,” he says.
        Helping Hands is looking at a new 60-inch, four- to six-burner natural gas commercial stove with two ovens, at least one of them convection. A broiler under the griddle would be an added bonus.
        The new stove will cost upwards of $15,000 installed.
        Catholic Charities Diocese of Toledo hopes Helping Hands of St. Louis ministry’s loyal supporters will step forward with donations to underwrite the replacement.
        “We’re not opposed to a used stove, as long as it’s in good working condition, if some restaurant owner or facility has one they’d like to donate to us,” Shrewsbery said.
        To make a donation, call her at 419-691-0613, ext.101.
        Donations may also be made online at Catholic Charities’ secure website,, or mail a check to Catholic Charities Diocese of Toledo, 1933 Spielbusch Ave., Toledo, OH 43604. Please note donations are for “HHSL Stove.”
        “Our guests really look forward to our food and also the fellowship,” Shrewsbery adds. “But the pandemic really changed how we could do things this year. We are so grateful volunteers are returning to help prepare and serve the meals.”
        Helping Hands of St. Louis, a ministry of Catholic Charities Diocese of Toledo, has been serving the poor in East Toledo for over 40 years. On average, 225 meals are prepared in the Helping Hands Kitchen and served daily to low-income and homeless families.
        Each month, the Helping Hands Food Pantry distributes groceries, hygiene products and homeless kits to nearly 400 individuals, and nearly 550 individuals receive clothing, shoes, and household items from our Helping Hands Clothing Center. Catholic Charities Diocese of Toledo also provides Crisis Navigation services to guests as needed.


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