The Gift Of New Beginnings Year Round


During the holiday season, many of us are consumed with finding the perfect gift. But for the individuals involved in Care and Share of Wayne County, their special gifts don’t need to be wrapped or decorated with bows. Their special gift involves sharing time, talents, and understanding with the adults and children housed at OneEighty’s emergency shelter, Julia’s Place. 

“Donna Yost and her Sunday school class at Grace Church use to host a party at Julia’s Place every few months,” Connie Benchoff, Care and Share Board President said. “They would go in and spend time with the women and their children sharing special food, games, and conversation. One woman, who had completed the comprehensive recovery services provided by OneEighty, shared that she would be moving on and into her own apartment. While this was cause for celebration, it became apparent that she would be leaving the program the way she came in – with nothing but the clothes on her back.”

The Sunday school team sprang into action. Collectively they pieced together furnishings, clothing, food, and even a Christmas tree to celebrate her new beginnings. 

Why Stop at One?

“It became clear to Donna & Connie that moving into an empty apartment and sleeping on the floor until these families could get on their feet was a challenge most all of the women faced when exiting the program,” Connie said. “Donna and I knew each other because we worked and attended Grace church, and we decided we should try to do this for all the individuals leaving the shelter.”

Once the idea was born, more caring community members stepped up to the plate to help make this idea a reality. “We started a Facebook page letting people know what we were doing and what kinds of things we needed. Then Pastor Randy Moomau offered us storage space in a potato storage bin on his family farm. We had a couple pallets of dishes and other household items at the start,” Connie recounted. 

From Grassroots to Nonprofit

By year two, the program was thriving. Randy and Donna decided to formalize the program by filing to become a licensed 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. As Care and Share entered into years 3 and 4, both the amount of donations and interest in the program grew along with the need to double the storage space. 

“With some 6-10 sofas and 30+ beds at any given time, we were able to begin truly organizing the storage space using shelving units donated by Larry Clark, and many wonderful volunteer teams each having an assigned role in the process,” Connie stated. 

Wheels in Motion

And a process it is. When an individual from the shelter signs a lease the two lead movers, Michelle Fink and Donna Yost, begin by meeting the client at the apartment and discussing what colors, styles, and bedding needs the family has. The team measures the room and window sizes and then goes back to begin the packing process.

Each team leader has their own set of volunteers, with each volunteer tasked with a specific assignment. With the inside of their storage space stocked like a ‘super store,’ new homes will have everything a family might need including dishes, draperies, small kitchen appliances, bedding, and at least enough food for 3 days. 

“We even have what we call a ‘frou-frou’ crew,” Connie said. ”They go in and hang pictures and other decorative and personalized items like photos unique to the recipient.”

Once the place is complete, they arrange for a time for the client to meet them at their home for a one-on-one tour of their new beginnings.

Gift of Love

“This is the most emotional time of our process,” Connie said. “One of my most memorable tours involved a young woman named Dana. It turned out that I knew her mother through church. With her mother’s help, I was able to surprise her with photos in her apartment of her grandparents who were very special in her life. When she saw those, and then again when she walked into her own bedroom, everyone including my husband and I broke down crying.” 

And being the driven group that Care and Share is, when Covid slowed down the number of people completing the program at Julia’s place, they came back to OneEighty to find out where else they might be able to sprinkle their magic. Now, the volunteers are delivering the same kindness to individuals completing OneEighty’s addiction recovery programs. 

Approaching its 8th year, the group has served and gifted new beginnings to over 150 women and their families.

Donna, Randy, and Connie began Care and Share with 1 John 4:19 in mind: “We love because He first loved us”. It’s about reaching out with love to those who for whatever reason have been marginalized. We started this program very grassroots. But our hope is that long after our initial crew is gone, people will continue to harness their personal strengths and reach out and improve the lives of others. In addition to Donna and Connie, board members Trica Pycraft, Heather Knotek, Jenni Moritz Szafranski, Michael Harwood, and Brian Sayre are working to do just that.

How to Get Involved

Care and Share’s Administrative Assistant Vicki Orr can help get you started. There is always room for additional movers and ‘frou-frou’ crew members. 

Current needs include queen-size mattress pads, paper towels, toilet paper, general cleaning supplies, mops, brooms, kitchen trash cans, laundry soap, wall art, curtain rods, 63” curtains, silverware and “The Bakers Dozen” list of kitchen items which include tongs, slotted turner, slotted spoon, manual can opener, rubber spatula, wooden spoon, ice cream scoop, whisk, serving spoon, kitchen scissors, vegetable peeler and pizza cutter. 

To make a donation of household items or furniture, call Vicki at 330-201-3539.

Financial donations should be mailed to:

Care and Share

P.O. Box 242

Smithville, OH  44677

We’re Here to Support You.

We help people change direction with programs for addiction, domestic violence, rape crisis, mental health, housing, and prevention and education. At OneEighty, we actively support an evidence-based approach to sustainable recovery from trauma and addiction – restoring dignity and purpose, reimagining potential, and rebuilding lives. OneEighty offers counseling programs, intensive addiction treatment programs, group addiction treatment, residential services, victim services, recovery housing, and peer recovery.

OneEighty Resources

For those encountering a substance use crisis please call OneEighty’s Substance Use Crisis hotline available 24 hours per day, 365 days per year at 330-466-0678. For other resources, click the links below: 

Recovery Coaching

Addiction & Substance Use

Residential Treatment

Mental Health Counseling

Community Relations & Prevention

Substance Use Treatment Navigator Hotline

Safe at Home Program

Intimate Partner & Domestic Violence booklet (Wayne County)

Self-Help Legal Manual

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