By Angelo Anderson
Remember how wonderful it was sitting on the dock surrounded by your friends shooting the breeze with your fishing line in the water hoping for a bite. The annual Homeless Fishing Outing allows 20 participants to have this relaxing and humanizing experience.
At the Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry Men’s Shelter, 2100 Lakeside Avenue, Anthony Morris, Veteran Community Coordinator and I developed this program in 2011. I am the Employment and Education Coordinator for the shelter, and have worked or volunteered at the facility since it opened. The thought behind the program was to give the men an opportunity to enjoy an activity that is commonplace, but typically out of reach or unavailable to the homeless. So once a year those in the shelter that have a desire set out armed with donated fishing licenses, poles and bait to various locations on Lake Erie to fish. Morris and I along with volunteers provide transportation, and training to those that have never been fishing before and we provide tips to those with a little experience.
The day long adventure provides the men with an opportunity to bond, talk about childhood fishing trips and generally relax and experience the joy of landing a catch. However, the catch is not the most important part of the day but we do give bragging rights to the person with the biggest fish of the day.
Since the program began the participants have found the outing not only to be fun, but also an opportunity to grow closer to a stable life in housing. A big thanks to the State of Ohio for providing the free fishing licenses that can be used throughout the remaining fishing season. Also, we deeply appreciate the Shines Bait & Tackle Shop, located at 1287 East 55th Street for donating bait and tackle for the excursion.
Thank you also to the numerous and anonymous contributors that give used fishing poles and tackle each year. Those that wish to contribute and or volunteer can contact Mr. Anthony Morris at 216-566-0047 ext 129 or Angelo Anderson at the same number.
Copyright Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless Cleveland Street Chronicle #19.1 April – May 2012