TOLEDO, Ohio — Helping Hands of St. Louis is reopening their dining room to guests after more than 15 months.
This is a result of all COVID health orders in the state being lifted by Gov. Mike DeWine. It's a big day for the organization after serving meals curbside since the pandemic began.
Director Sue Shrewsberry says it's exciting to start getting back to pre-pandemic operations.
"It'll be nice to, first of all, see their faces," she said. "Those who are vaccinated can take their masks off and just be able to interact with them, talk with them, find out how they've been."
Shrewsberry says it's also a chance for Helping Hands to find out if there's any issues their community has been facing and if they need any help from other social services through catholic charities. Over the last year and a half, it's been challenging to socialize with the community members they help daily.
With more people coming back in-person, Helping Hands of St. Louis is also in need of a new commercial stove.
"It doesn't cook at an even temperature," Shrewsberry said. "It's difficult for our chef to cook a cake when half of it doesn't cook and the other half is overdone."
Helping Hands chef David Smith says the stove and burners work, but the oven won't hold a constant temperature.
“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 said.
They are looking to replace the current 15-year-old stove with a new 60-inch, four to six burner natural gas commercial stove with two ovens, at least one of them convection.
Something like this can cost anywhere between $10,000 and $15,000, according to Smith.
The organization says a used commercial stove will work too, as long as it's in good working condition.
If you'd like to donate, you can do so here. If someone would like to donate a commercial stove, call Helping Hands at 419-691-0613 ext.101.