Area man takes advantage of homeless employment opportunity

Toledo, OH (Toledo News Now) – Looking for a second chance, a Toledo man is selling newspapers to change the ways of his past.

Lawrence Staler has had a rough life, but what you wouldn't know is that he has learned from his mistakes, unless you asked him.

Every day from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Lawrence Staler walks in front of the Toledo Municipal Court, looking for a chance.

"I walk about a 40ft. Section back and forth and I tell people about the Toledo Streets Paper," said Staler.

The Toledo Streets Paper is a newspaper sold by licensed vendors as a way to eliminate panhandling. The vendors buy the paper for a quarter and sell them for a dollar donation - with the profit going in the vendor's pocket. But the vendors, like Lawrence, are homeless and every dollar goes a long way.

Times haven't always been easy for Lawrence, in fact he's hit rock bottom before.

"I spent 13 years in a Texas prison. I didn't go to these little Kindergarten prisons here in Ohio and I had a real bad attitude. Basically I believed that everybody was out to get me," said Lawrence.

Lawrence was released from jail in December 2011. Having to pay child support in Ohio, he came back to Toledo in January. While staying at the Cherry Street Mission, Lawrence was introduced to the Toledo streets program in March.

"When I got working here in Toledo Streets, my attitude changed. If Jesus Christ hadn't brought me over to Toledo Streets, I'd probably be in prison again."

Making $20-$80 per day selling his papers has allowed Lawrence to open a bank account, make weekly $50 child support payments and get a driver's license for the first time in 13 years. It has also given him responsibility and a fresh start.

Lawrence looks at his future positively:

"Hopefully someone will hire me. I've got 6.5 years with forklifts, up to 8,000LB capacity. I worked refinery before as a pipe fitter and helper first class, 2nd class mill-ry helper."

Lawrence says he has the skills, he just needs, a chance:

"They say you're a convicted felon, ok, so won't you leave that in the past and let me work on my future. Give me a chance and let me show you what I can do for your company."

Copyright 2012 Toledo News Now. All rights reserved.