Sam Learns to Drive, or Lydia’s House on Wheels

Sam loves the new van, acquired thanks to a very generous donation by Pamela Altepeter.  He couldn’t get enough of it.  If he’s getting this use out of the van, just think how much the women and children at Lydia’s House will appreciate it!


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What a mighty fine van, you got there!

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Sam loves the van so much.

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Sam’s growing up so fast.  He’s already learning how to drive.

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He really makes the van look big, doesn’t he?

We at Lydia’s House can’t wait for all the adventures the guests will have in this vehicle.  Thank you so much, Pamela!


An evening at the Drop Inn Center


Last Wednesday, a group of friends and I volunteered to serve dinner at the Drop Inn Center in Cincinnati.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with the organization, it is one of the largest organizations in the city serving the homeless.

As the intern at Lydia’s House, I am incredibly passionate about urban poverty, and gladly welcomed the opportunity to help in whatever way I could.  Armed with previous experience at a large shelter in Chicago, I had prepared myself emotionally for the hour I would spend at the Drop Inn Center.

Or so I thought.

In actuality, no mental preparation could have readied me for what I experienced.  You see, much of my work at Lydia’s House at the moment involves researching information about homelessness in Cincinnati.  Currently, I’ve been reading endless reports on statistics, ranging from the ethnicities, genders, and ages of low-income and homeless peoples in the greater Cincinnati region.  I thought that, because I had been reading so extensively about the issue, I would know what to expect.

In a sense, I was right. Come the night itself, I was not surprised to see that a majority of the people being served were African-American males.  My research was proved correct when it came to the reality of the situation.

However, I was not prepared for the sheer humanity.  Cincinnati has over 7,000 homeless people, only a fraction of whom had dinner at the Drop Inn Center that night.  Seeing the endless lines of faces, all so grateful for me to plop a spoonful of sausages onto their plates, was harrowing.  With each person who came to the line to receive what might be their only warm meal for the day, each of us tried to make whatever connection we could.  We laughed, smiled, and made small talk with the men and women who came through, and came to realize that statistics are not simply numbers on a page, but actual people who live under these horrible conditions.  These are people sleeping on the streets in the rain and snow, who cannot find jobs to support themselves. They are people often forgotten about in the debate on urban poverty, as politicians so frequently focus more on the percentage rather than the person.  They are people with hopes, dreams, and fears, favorite books and music, who frequently are victims of unfortunate circumstance and desperately want to get back on their feet.

One person in particular, whose name I never learned, was perhaps one of the most positive people I have met.  Each time he came to the line, he was cheerful and engaging, and always incredibly appreciative of our help and service.  I can’t even say if I would have the attitude he did if I was in his situation.  He was truly inspirational.

Those of us who volunteered that night were blessed enough to return to warm, dry homes that evening, hearts full of gratitude for the provisions we’ve received in life, and mindful of the fact that thousands of people in Cincinnati will not have that same luxury.  Serving at the Center only kindled my passion to help by whatever means necessary, even if it is only a drop in the bucket.  At least that bucket is one drop fuller than it was before.

–Hilary, the intern.


The Drop Inn Center is always looking for help.  If you’re interested in volunteering, please check out their website for more information.

Clocks Turn Back, We Look Forward to December

Daylight Saving’s has always confused me. Especially the whole “fall backward, spring forward” mnemonic device. Speaking as someone who has experienced her fair share of falling forward, particularly when roller or ice skating, I constantly mix up the sayings, which results in an overly obsessive checking and re-checking of the time to make sure that I’m not late, or later, to my appointments.


However this year, Daylight Saving’s reminded us at Lydia’s House to look forward at the upcoming months–officially moving our office to the actual Lydia’s House (hurrah!), our renovation calendar, and  preparing for our new guests. With this in mind, we have two pressings needs for the month of December.


The first: we are ever so thankful for all of the volunteers who have provided lunch for the work day volunteers.  As of now, we are still in need of two volunteers to provide lunch on December 7 and December 14.  If you are interested or would like more information, please contact

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One of our lunch volunteers, Jane, blessing us with delicious food.

The second: Also on December 7 and 14, we are in need of volunteers willing to paint our rooms.  Al Merritt has graciously and generously donated the paint we will be using in our house, and we need experienced painters to help!  If you are interested, please contact

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All this amazing paint, wonderfully donated by Al Merritt, is begging to be used!

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“You know you want to paint me”

As ever, we are so grateful for all the support and time given by our volunteers and Lydia’s House community.  We cannot stress enough that none of this would be possible without you all!

–Hilary “the Intern”