What We Do

So, what is Trials for Hope about anyway?

Our tagline is our purpose:


Since Trials for Hope was founded over 11 years ago, our mission is to help those in our community — our family — to meet their basic needs while providing them dignity, respect and love.

That means we:

  • visit homebound seniors
  • arrange bike donations to kids
  • provide the basic necessities like toilets and water to wash to those in homeless camps
  • for the homeless man with mouth cancer, we find nutrition shakes
  • for LGBTQ+ teens, we provide toiletries and backpacks
  • deliver food to hungry families trying to stretch their monthly income
  • share bus passes and cell phone chargers
  • And we all know how valuable toilet paper is.

What there isn’t is judgement.
Nor is there recrimination.
No pushback.
No expectations or repayment.

Just kindness.

And dignity.

And hope.


Click here > to read our Annual Reports.

Or, contact us for more info:

2020 Annual Report cover

Check out all we did in 2020 with our Annual Report.

2019 Annual Report cover Click here to read our 2019 Annual Report



2018 Annual Report cover And here’s the 2018 report, too.

Click here for a printable pdf list of needs you can provide.

What exactly are we doing right now?

Tent City Outreach

These people, mostly men, might be vets, shelter-resistant, victims of theft or abuse in shelters,  or unable to stay in a shelter because of felonies, mental health issues or drug addictions.  

No matter what their choices, now or in the past, they deserve dignity, kindness and to have their basic needs met.

Our program has recently expanded to help those who are temporarily inside facilities for the winter but were previously outside, allowing us to serve even more people who need our help.

Two days a week, we visit those who live in the outdoor tent cities — or those completely on their own — bringing them food, clothing, weather-resistant tarps . . . anything to help them survive.  This year, in the midst of the pandemic, basic cleanliness and health were an exceptional challenge.  With the help of sponsors, TfH was able to provide portable showers, privacy tents with toilet chairs, 5-gallon shower bags for hand-washing, and trash cans and bags.     

Greatest needs:  men’s clothing and socks, toiletries, canned meats and foods, laundry cards.

Forget-Me-Not Shutins

“These are the survivors . . . in their 70s and 80s.  You don’t know about them if you don’t see them,” explains Jonathan Gray, TfH founder.  For our homebound seniors, invisibility becomes an issue.  No one knows they are there, so their needs are often not met.

Trials for Hope currently visits 13 homebound seniors at Lakeview Terrace twice a month, delivering meat, canned and fresh goods, toiletries, adult diapers and other basic-need items.  We also stop to talk and simply listen; we’re often the only visitors they get consistently.

Greatest needs:  canned meats, canned and packaged foods, adult diapers

Community Dinners

Trials for Hope serves two meals each month and helps at another two to feed between 40-80 hungry children, women and men every month.

The meals are staffed or supplied by the Trials for Hope team every month alongside Lakewood Christian Church and the helping hands of The Lantern Center for Recovery, Gutters Unlimited and friends. We also distribute personal care items at 3 meals each month.

Greatest needs: volunteers to serve the meals, financial help to purchase the food, personal care items

Free Farmers Markets

“Some people in our city live in a food desert, with no close access to a food pantry or fresh foods,” explains Jonathan.  

So, five times each month, Trials for Hope conducts a free farmers market with hundreds of pounds of food bank food for middle-aged adults and seniors in subsidized housing.

We work with other collaborations to help families affected by COVID, those with children who have special needs and those in crisis. It’s all free, and they choose only what they want.

Greatest needs:  volunteers to work at the markets, food and personal care items

Treatment Centers & Group Homes

Trials for Hope helps people in crisis by providing food and personal care items as needed. We visit over ten different three-quarter houses, treatment centers and homeless centers including Sobriety in Motion and B Riley Sober House regularly.

As we all realize, sometimes just knowing someone else cares can make all the difference in the world.

Greatest needs:  personal care items and food donations

Backpack Program

Homeless youth are often a silent community in crisis.  But Trials for Hope hears their need.  

We conduct an annual backpack drive and fill each bag with bus passes, basic hygiene essentials, cell phone charger cords and snacks. 

Last year, we collected and filled 80 backpacks and have distributed almost all of them. Our focus is at Lake Erie International High School, the LGBTQ Center, Bellefaire JCB and the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless. 

Yet there are so many more needs that we would love to fill.

Greatest needs:  city bus passes, personal care items, individual snacks, cell phone chargers

School Deliveries

Once a month, Trials for Hope collaborates with Lakeview United Methodist Church and Grantview Elementary School to deliver nonperishable food items to families in Lakewood that are facing food insecurity.  The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the delivery routine, but the hunger is still there, and so are we.

Greatest needs:  volunteers to help pack and deliver bags, financial donations to purchase items, nonperishable food items, especially canned meats, pasta, rice, soups, cereal and healthy snacks.

Holiday Bazaar

Imagine how difficult it it is for so many parents who are not able to provide Christmas for their kids.  Trials for Hope helps through an annual holiday bazaar for low income families.  
We offer toys, clothes, stockings, holiday decorations and more at extremely low costs to help everyone rejoice in the season.  We also give away books, candy and small items like nail polish to help fill everyone’s stockings.  
Greatest needs: volunteers to sort and work the bazaar, financial help to purchase additional items, donations for the bazaar

Right to Dignity Bags

Each month, we offer dignity to others by sharing bags of toiletry items at  treatment centers, community meals, homeless camps, the homebound and church outreach groups. Last year, that added up to over 3,600 bags with deodorant, wipes, toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoo, conditioner, bath soap, shavers and feminine products.

That’s over 28,800 personal care items a year.  And the numbers are growing every month as we join new collaborations. It’s a simple way to give our struggling neighbors the ability to care for themselves.

One of our partners makes up 400-600 holiday and summer bags each year, including in them essentials for our outside family, like socks, waterproof trash bags, space blankets, hand warmers, sun screen, snacks and band aids.

Greatest needs: volunteers to sort and bag, items to fill these bags.  Click here for a printable item list.

Survival Bags

For the past several years, our team of volunteers at Our Lady Help of Christians in Litchfield, led by Theresa and Allan Beyler, have put together seasonal survival bags for our unsheltered family. 

Despite COVID preventing them from getting together, they made up 250 winter and 100 summer bags. The bags include  essentials for our outside family, like socks, waterproof trash bags, space blankets, hand warmers, phone chargers, sun screen, snacks and band aids.

Greatest needs:  items to fill these bags and volunteers to sort and fill them.  Click here for a printable item list.

Why We Do It

Just how big of a need is there in the Cleveland area?

The Cleveland Foodbank, HandsOn Northeast Ohio’s Homeless Stand Down and other amazing programs survey people and compile information on the changing unmet needs of the men, women and children in our 6-county Greater Cleveland community:*

17% = 305,760 people

One in six men, women and children in our area are food-insecure.

+20% = almost 83,000 kids

In our area, over one in five kids lived in a home that was food-insecure in 2017.

233,190 individuals

In 2017, the highest number of food-insecure residents in Ohio lived in Cuyahoga County.


In Cuyahoga County, over 18.1% of its residents lived below the poverty line in 2016, with an annual income below $20,420 for a family of three.

240,020 people

In 2016, 240,020 Cuyahoga County residents received Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.

43% families

Of these, 43% were families with children under the age of 18.


*Source:  Hunger Facts, Greater Cleveland Food Bank, greaterclevelandfoodbank.org/about/hunger-facts, 2020.