AngelaHuston@zoominternet.net   CRHuston@zoominternet.net

On October 26, The Sandridge Food Corporation, Pride One Construction, and Waltz UMC Ladies Aid were the host sponsors for a Fall Reception at Williams on the Lake, 787 Lafayette Road, Medina, for the benefit of Cups Cafe. The casual, fun evening was a time to meet, mingle, enjoy a bit of magical entertainment, and listen to a short but important message.

The meeting and mingling time included a tasty hors d'oeuvres buffet prepared by the Williams staff, during which time the nearly 200 guests could also purchase tickets for the raffle baskets and the 50/50 raffle. Local artist Terry Holley provided delightful sleight of hand magical illusions with the help of some audience members.

This very special faith-based, non-profit Cups Cafe ministry, where people find coffee, comfort, conversation, and a free hot meal, was created by Tim Van Arsdale, who said it was a calling from God. "Everything is free: to at-risk youth facing food insecurity, homeless people, and really, anyone in need."

As the only staff member, Van Arsdale has been serving the needs of so many in the community for the past 12 years with the help of volunteers who work two-hour shifts. Included among those volunteers are Cafe Board members Chad Wise, Lucy Herman, Hank Waite, Ron Pierce, Korey Hinkle, Heather Rupp, and Clay Huffman.

Cups Cafe, 126 North Court Street, Unit C, Medina, began as a grass roots effort, and now serves 70 to 100 free meals daily, to adults (many homeless or elderly) during the day and to students (many latch key kids) who drop in after school. Everything is acquired through donations from local businesses, schools, restaurants, churches, organizations, and individuals; many donate regularly.

However, this is not the only way recipients benefit from Van Arsdale's goal to serve and help people. So far this year the cafe has also helped 29 homeless people through its Mercy fund. In addition, it gives a $500 scholarship to a Medina Senior High School student through its Community Service Scholarship. Youth and families in need have been given countless items such as blankets, pairs of socks, warm hats, and hygiene products.

While the offer of free food appeals, and attracts many, to the cafe (as a special treat, he and his team of volunteers served root beer floats to 42 students after the first day of the new school year), Van Arsdale's mission extends beyond providing only this kind of sustenance. Cups Cafe offers a safe place for students to go after school when no one is home, a welcoming place that offers camaraderie, good will, and guidance.

Van Arsdale showed the video of the interview done by Fox 8's David Moss. He told Moss he is driven by his passion to help. He strives to make Cups Cafe feel like Mom's kitchen and your favorite coffee shop.

He then told the audience of the many ways they could help him continue his mission for another 12 years: volunteer, donate food and supplies, contribute financially, bake brownies and cookies, plan a fundraising activity, help to repair equipment and furniture, pray for our work --- the list goes on, the need is great, and any help with this ministry would be greatly appreciated. Cups Cafe is a 501(c)3 organization. All donations are tax deductible.

Van Arsdale suggested a donation of $20 per month would help immensely, but any donation is more than welcome. If you would like to help in any way, please contact him at 330-241-5990, 330-304-5449, or Tim@cupscafe.org. Contributions may be mailed to Cups Cafe, 126 N. Court St., Medina, Ohio 44256, or P.O. Box 83, Medina, Ohio 44258. Follow Cups Cafe on Facebook: www.facebook.com/cupscafe.

Cups Cafe is open Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.