Two years ago, a family friend gave my son, Max, a rather unique birthday present. He made a donation in Max’s name to the City Mission.

Truth be told, I have driven past the City Mission thousands of times but never thought about stopping in. For some reason, I wanted to hand deliver the donation to the City Mission’s venerable director, Reverend Rich so I drove to their main location at 5310 Carnegie Avenue.

How lucky are we?  The best way to answer that question is to visit the City Mission in person.  If you are anything like me, you have a tendency to take things for granted- our homes, the great food we eat every day, even our comfortable beds.

Reverend Rich gave me a tour of the facility and introduced me to dozens of workers, volunteers, and people who rely on the Mission’s charity. As this magnificent man showed me their facility, I was blown away. Moreover, I was deeply touched by the loving, non-judgmental spirit of everyone.

I was surprised to learn that the majority of those who participate at the Mission are single moms. The Mission provides clean clothes, a safe place to sleep, daycare, GED training, and job placement.

The City Mission is Cleveland’s oldest charity organization.  The Mission relies 100 percent on donations for its existence. It is for that reason that my wife, Stephanie, and I have adopted the City Mission as our primary charity.

In addition, we have joined forces with our friends at CBS 19 Action News.  We are sponsoring “Share Your Holidays.” It is the largest single food and clothing drive in the entire state.

We have had a great drive this week, and there’s still time to give!  Everyone can give something, even if it’s an old coat you don’t need or picking up a few extra food items at the store.

When Max received that birthday present two years ago, never in my wildest imagination did I think it would have such a profound effect on our family and our lives.

Do you have someone on your list this year who is hard to shop for?  Need ideas to get that person who has everything already?  Make a donation to the City Mission in that person’s name. I promise you that person will be deeply touched, and you will truly help someone in our hometown when they need it the most.

Consider stopping by the Mission and dropping off gently-used clothes and/or canned goods. They also need volunteers, so please just ask how you can help them when you stop by.

To learn more about the City Mission you can visit their website at


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