Maslow's Army returning 'home' to Fountain Square for three weeks in July

3CDC, Portune work to find permanent location

CINCINNATI -- A local nonprofit that provides free food and clothing each Sunday for people in need will return to Fountain Square for three weeks in July.

The Cincinnati Center City Development Corp., known as 3CDC, agreed Thursday to allow Maslow's Army to return to Fountain Square to conduct its outreach July 8, July 15 and July 22.

3CDC CEO Steve Leeper also pledged to help Maslow's Army find a more permanent location for its weekly efforts, according to Christy Samad, 3CDC's senior vice president for event management.

"They gave us the outline for what their dream space would look like," she said. "We are definitely looking for other spaces."

Hamilton County Commission President Todd Portune also has been looking for a permanent location where Maslow's Army can help meet the basic needs of people experiencing homelessness and poverty so they can work towards better lives.

"The fact that both 3CDC and Todd Portune are working on solutions is really helpful to Maslow's Army," Maslow's Army co-founder Susan Landis said. "I'm very excited."

Maslow's Army offered free pizza, drinks and fruit each Sunday at Fountain Square for more than a year, but 3CDC notified the group earlier this year that the square would be too busy with events this summer for the group to continue to do its work there.

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Samad said the summer events on Sunday have drawn smaller crowds than anticipated, which makes space available for Maslow's Army for those three Sundays in July.

Susan and Samuel Landis and their team of volunteers have continued the outreach at various downtown Cincinnati locations since early May, but the Landises said the number of people they have been able to help each week has dropped as a result of the moves.

Maslow's Army will be at Fifth and Main streets Downtown on July 1 for its 76th consecutive Sunday outreach and then will be at Fountain Square for the following three Sundays.

Samuel Landis said he's hoping that the group will have a more permanent location soon, adding that Maslow's Army's board of directors will consider any locations that Portune and 3CDC offer and will make a decision.

Brian Garry, a Maslow's Army board member, has been working with Portune to find a new home for the group's efforts.

One preferred location would be outside the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, Garry said. That would have plenty of space for people to sit and eat and for Maslow's Army to set up games and activities to forge closer relationships with people experiencing homelessness and poverty, he said.

"We're hopeful there will be some resolution in the next few days," Garry said.

Maslow's Army serves pizza and drinks from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. each Sunday in downtown Cincinnati. The group will be at Fifth and Main streets on July 1 and on Fountain Square on July 8, July 15 and July 22. More information about Maslow's Army is available online.

Lucy May writes about the people, places and issues that define our region – to celebrate what makes the Tri-State great and shine a spotlight on issues we need to address. Childhood poverty is an important focus for her and for WCPO. To read more stories about childhood poverty, go to www.wcpo.com/poverty.

To read more stories by Lucy, go to www.wcpo.com/may. To reach her, email lucy.may@wcpo.com. Follow her on Twitter @LucyMayCincy.

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