Transformation Happens at The Mary Magdalen House
The Mary Magdalen House refreshes and renews its guests in body and spirit — from the hardships of living on the streets. Their goal is to maintain and help restore human dignity. Each of their guests leaves feeling better, knowing that “it is truly good for me to have been here.”
Congrats to The Mary Magdalen House for being named a Transformation Award 2022 honoree.
Jenny Lopez, Executive Director of The Mary Magdalen House, believes that God has put her where she needs to be. On a tumultuous planet and in challenging times – it is heartening to be in the presence of a place that positively transforms lives – led by a woman whose life’s work is about helping people every day.
Mary Magdalen House provides over 17,000 showers to guests annually. This includes thousands upon thousands of loads of laundry, many thousands of bars of soap, and enough underwear to fill the bed of an F-150! Their donors, staff, and volunteers work hard to ensure that every guest in need of a shower, and clean clothes can receive exactly what they need.
While Lopez did a stint in the world of “for-profit” healthcare; she knew that she belonged in an environment that treated extreme poverty, people experiencing homelessness and food insecurities. Thus, she came to work at the organization in 2017.
“I really wanted to be back in Over-the-Rhine, and I knew that I wanted to be working with an at-risk population– whether that was with homelessness or underserved people.”
Lopez explains that when individuals live on the streets, they don’t have a place to get running water, get clean, do laundry, and receive mail. The organization serves a wide cross-section of the community – from age, to race, to ethnicity, to gender.
“The typical person who comes in here is usually sleeping outside, not staying in a shelter or they don’t have families that they can stay with. They are hunkered down either in a tent, a makeshift shelter, an abandoned building, or in the laundry room of an apartment building– cause the door was left open. They don’t have a regular permanent address or f a safe and secure place to lay their head. This also means that they don’t have access to running water, toilets, or a place to wash their clothes or take a shower. These folks know that they can count on us”
Having an address is of high importance as it means that people have a place to receive Medicaid, food stamps, and all other important correspondence.
The Mary Magdalen House is co-located with The Center for Respite Care in the St. Anthony Center. This means that the organizations can share resources. Lopez explains that she may encounter an individual who needs clothing items in a size that she doesn’t have on hand – but the Center does. Or conversely, she may receive donated medical goods that are of use to the Center.
“Also, you know, if I’ve got somebody who’s about to collapse from hunger — I could go over there (to the Center) and say –hey do you have a little lunch bag with some sandwiches? We definitely work together try to help each other out as much as possible.”
Importantly, Lopez sees individuals’ transformation from the time that they walk through the door, shower, and depart – with a fresh outlook and a clean face. This makes an honor called “transformation” particularly appropriate.
“The moment someone walks in and the moment they walk out we see a little transformation, so I think the award is very appropriate”
The Mary Magdalen House is a catalyst for transformation – one person at a time. Congrats and thanks for all of the work that Jenny Lopez and her team do.