With cold, stiff fingers, snacks and toys were passed out to the children and people of the central community. I remember the cleveland browns had teamed up with us that year, for an opportunity to give back, to help others even just for one day. This day in particular, wasn't our regular scheduled day for heaventrain; the snow had been extremely bad so we had to reschedule for that Monday due to ice and our bus being over forty feet. Anyway, we are giving out toys and a woman comes up to us, and hugs each one of us and says, "Thank you for what you do. If it weren't for you guys bringing toys, we wouldn't have any gifts under our tree" they had to spend what little money they had coming in on the rent and food, so their children told her that God would provide. The woman said that she didn't know what to tell them when nothing happened. Then the train whistle blew on a Monday no less, and they now had enough gifts for her four children. This was Heaventrain Christmas 2008, I remember it well because i was in high school and a jr staff member at the time. At the end of the day, when we would wrap up the day, pastor Phil would give us a brief message, and this day he told us what Jesus said, "when you serve the least of them, you do for me." Even the city councilwoman came out to support us; and that day I truly learned what it meant to be a servant of the Lord!
The lives of so many have been changed through the efforts of this ministry. Not only are their physical bodies filled but most importantly their spiritual bodies are filled. What a great asset to the communities impacted by them!
Lighthouse Inc. has touched thousands of lives over the years. The thing that I appreciate about this organization the most is the way they love and respect each and every person who comes within their reach. Thousands of young lives have been changed because of the sacrificial giving of themselves of the people involved. I have had the opportunity to hear first-hand how lives have been changed due to Lighthouse Inc. Young lives that were hopeless became of importance in their own eyes and in the eyes of everyone around them. I truly believe Lighthouse Inc. has saved many lives of the young people in the Cleveland area.
Heaventrain perseveres where most would not dare to try. For 37 years they have been loving Children and embodying the love of Christ. That work had broken down walls and impacted many lives.
The perseverance and dedication HeavenTrain has for serving Cleveland is astounding! As a volunteer, I love to be a part of an organization that cares so deeply for children and families in low-income neighborhoods.
HeavenTrain is dedicated to the city of Cleveland, more specifically the neighborhood of Central. God's spirit and calling on this ministry is evident every time we go out and serve. Blessed to be a part of it!
Heaventrain is a great non-profit bringing the hope of the Gospel to inner-city Cleveland for over 25 years. In addition to a bus ministry to the neighborhoods the organization does Mentoring, runs a food program and has a basketball program. The staff and volunteers are fanstatic.
I am one of the drivers for the Heaven Train bus. As I drive through the neighborhoods I blow a real train whistle and the kids come running.
The kids just love the Bible stories and the teachings.
I have had many of the mothers tell how they came on the Heaven Train bus when they were little.
On a normal Saturday we get 600 to 650 kids through the bus and in December, around Christmas time, when we hand out Christmas stockings we get more than 800 kids. Their Christmas stockings are full with coloring books, crayons, toys, puzzles, hats, scarves, gloves and candy.
Something that has always impressed me is the volunteers. We have volunteers that drive an hour to get to the bus and we have volunteers that have been doing this for more than 10 years. We have volunteers that pick up food and spend all day Friday making 800 sandwiches.
It is a real blessing to be part of this team.
Thank You and God Bless
I've been volunteering with Heventrain probably for the last ten years, I have always enjoyed helping with Heventrain the kids always enjoy hearing the bus horn as it circles the block, I just wish I would have more time to volunteer. Heventrain is a awesome nonprofit organization all the people are kind and hard workers. Rob Stinson
HeavenTrain has been a GREAT ORGANIZATION to be a Volunteer of being a part of Bridging the gap for UNITY THROUGH THE TEACHINGS AND KNOWLEDGE OF JESUS CHRIST!
GETTING INVOLVED THROUGH DONATIONS AND VOLUNTEERING IS HIGHLY ENCOURAGED WITH THIS ORGANIZATION THAT HAS BEEN MAKING POSITIVE STRIDES AND GAINS FOR 35 YEARS AND COUNTING.
I am a youth pastor in Mount Vernon, OH. We love the HeavenTrain ministry and serving with them was the highlight of my teen's experience this summer in Cleveland!
I've had the pleasure of working with Heaventrain in the past and it is a truly unique organization worth seeing firsthand.
When I think of the Lord's Prayer where it says "your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven" I think of Heaventrain. It doesn't wait for people to come to it, it goes to the people. And it is the use of volunteer organizations that makes me think of an eclectic kingdom made up of people from all walks of life.
The leaders are in touch with the needs of the community and stewards of the resources entrusted to them to meet those needs and partner with other area organizations.
If you want to experience what the Church is meant to be, go spend a Saturday with Heaventrain.
As a current youth pastor in the suburban west Cleveland, OH area I recently took part in a mission trip that combined my group of teenagers with a group from a church in Kentucky. During the week we helped work on two homes that Lighthouse, Inc. has restored on Cleveland's west side. One of these homes is occupied by the organization's executive director who has intentionally planted himself and his wife in the community in order to both understand the needs of his neighbors and build relationships. On one of the days we helped move in a young couple who is also intentionally going to live in the community in order to serve others. This new development in Lighthouse, Inc.'s efforts in Cleveland is particularly exciting and seems to be paying instant dividends as through working at the home for the new couple we were able to meet the neighbors who even helped out. We then had the pleasure of taking part in a community block party at the home to introduce the couple to their neighbors. This was well attended and is only the first of many things this couple will be doing to get to know those they are called to serve the needs of. We also had the chance to participate in Heaventrain, the longest standing ministry that Lighthouse, Inc. does. During the day we were able to interact with close to 750 children despite the rainy conditions. In seeing the efforts they are making and being heartbroken for the community, we decided to pass on one of the end of the night fun activities we had planned in order to free up more money to invest in to our work projects rather than go to a Cleveland Indians game. Lighthouse not only does a good job of stretching the resources they are given, they do a great job committing to getting to know those they serve so that they can identify what needs are most pressing and how to best address them. I would highly encourage calling to check out Heaventrain firsthand and I look forward to working with them more in the future.
Heaventrain in the Cleveland Central district is an incredible outreach that I've had the opportunity to serve. Building community and relationships is the heart of this ministry, which includes connecting with individuals of all ages. All who are involved, ranging from staff to kids, can learn and grow through the Heaventrain experience. It encourages healthy and loving relationships, and also provides an avenue for people of all backgrounds to connect. It is a great joy to be a part of this organization. I plan on serving in this outreach for quite a while. Heaventrain provides a great example of what true community building and outreach looks like in the heart of Cleveland Ohio!
I've seen real discipleship happen through Heaventrain. Praying for the longevity of this non profit. So much beautiful work to be done in Cleveland!
These guys are firmly committed to doing things the right way. I appreciate the unwavering focus on what is best for the kids of Central Cleveland. The voice of the community drives the strategy, and it is the most transparent, purposeful team I've ever worked with.
Lighthouse is doing the real work that most people just talk about.
It has been my great pleasure to be involved with this organization as a volunteer and a board member...I was compelled to continue to serve by the great need, the unique approach to meeting that need, and the incredible people that this organization brings together.
In a world full of requests for money, requests for time and carefully scripted marketing messages, Lighthouse is a refreshing change of pace: real folks that get their hands dirty doing the hard jobs.
Heaven Train Cleveland is celebrating it's 35th anniversary, which is amazing in itself, but what's more amazing are the lives that have been touched through this ministry. Though geared to the children of Central Cleveland, young and old find loving ,caring, compassionate volunteers willing to go the extra mile to bring love and hope , but most of all Jesus to 600 or 700 people on a Saturday. One has to experience the joy on faces to fully understand the impact this ministry is making on lives. I have been involved with this organization for 16 years and have witnessed the love of Jesus poured out on all, with changed lives, and hope resulting. Relationships matter to all involved because they mattered to our Lord and they should matter to us all; Heaven Train is making this happen
I have been volunteering with heaventrain for nine years, and it is a wonderful ministry because it not only brings church to the people of the inner projects, but we also have worked on ways to get the children fed through different partners. I think my most memorable moment was when a kid walked up to pastor Phil and asked, will there be projects in heaven? Pastor Phil turned and said, no, but there will be people from the projects in heaven!
I can remember a time on heaventrain when a little boy had come to heaventrain and we were doing the summer feeding program; the kids 18 and under got a chance to eat a delicious hot meal with cold milk and carrots. While we were packing up to leave, we were giving away extras to the kids who wanted them (because we had a set amount and we had to pay for that amount any way) when this boy's mom walks up to all of our staff with tears in her eyes, hugging us and saying that they didnt have any food and didnt know what to tell the children. She said that heaventrain blessed their family with the sandwhiches and milk, which would feed her 4 children. Since this was our last stop of the day, we gave them our last box of sandwhiches and milks. For over 32 years, heaventrain has been quietly serving and blessing the community; and is able to build lasting relationships through holiday food drives, giving out coats for kids, and the numerous tutoring programs and extracricular activities students can be involved in after school. In the words of another heaventrain parent, heaventrain is a blessing and dont ever stop serving. Non-profits like this nowadays are rare and so thats why i nominate heaventrain for this grant.
I have volunteered with Heaventrain train for many years! As a schoolteacher, it was mainly during the summer months, but now since I recently retired I have been able to be more consistent. The children who come are so precious and this year, we started asking kids and parents if there was something special they wanted us to pray over. The relationships made touch my heart and the love Heaventrain staff and volunteers provide to the community is priceless. The vision of Heaventrain 35 years ago continues to bring light into the Central Neighborhood. May God continue to bless this ministry.
Heaventrain helped me realize there are kids out here in cleveland going hungry every day, and by just donating a little of my time I can do so much to help change that.
Our church has supported this ministry for many years...probably over 20, maybe 30. We love hearing the stories of God's protection, His provision, and His saving grace for the children and young adults of Cleveland! Our children, from the time they could toddle around, have bundled up and picked greens to send to Cleveland, so Heaventrain could distribute them. We love the Battens and believe they are called of God to this ministry. They have surrounded themselves with mission minded individuals that provide a check and balance system as they move the organization forward in continuing the services they are known for while branching out to reach the communities in additional ways.
Working to support this important ministry is important to our family. For years our local church has picked 'greens' that have went to Heaventrain for them to distribute. This is a multi-generational day that my children have participated in since they could walk. Our teens enjoyed volunteering on a Sat. route this spring. We also enjoy picking out school supplies, sidewalk chalk, etc. for them to use. We trust the Battens and believe that what they say, they do. Their integrity is unquestionable. Their vision has not changed over 3o years, it just continues to expand to meet the physical, mental, and spiritual needs of the children in Cleveland! Their outreach ministries into schools, neighborhoods with sports, etc. are changing lives not just a moment, but for a lifetime. Lighthouse Inc. deserves our support- small or large. They make every penny and donation count!
Looking for an opportunity to volunteer with an organization that is making a difference in Cleveland in the lives of youth? This the place for you to make a lasting impact. I've been a volunteer for 10+ years. I participated in food distribution and mentoring at East Tech. I also volunteer on Heaventrain. With a 35 year history in the community, Heaven train works with the community and it's residents- values established relationships, develops strategies to accomplish community transformation and teaches neighborhood leadership.
Every once in a while you come across an organization that inspires you to dream big. Heaventrain is one of those organizations. They faithfully leverage resources for a transformational movement that benefits Cleveland children and youth, primarily in the Central neighborhood.
I have been involved with Heaventrain directly/indirectly and over the past 15 years and it has inspired me to find my own expression of community engagement that makes a difference in the lives of Cleveland children and youth.
Get to know Heaventrain and spend some time with them. I guarantee you will walk away inspired anew when you see their work first-hand and experience the relationships that have been forged - the desired fruit of their labor.
I have had the joy of watching Lighthouse make a significant and lasting impact in Cleveland’s Central neighborhood over the last 6 years. In this time, I have had the opportunity to witness their ability to transform individual lives (both young and old), families, and their community in effective and sustained ways. I have personally experienced the effectiveness of this ministry in several ways.
First, I have been involved with Lighthouse’s Heaventrain on several different occasions. On Heaventrain I have seen hope extended to those that have seemingly lost all hope. Food extended to those that are hungry, and toys given to those who would receive little else. Additionally, Heaventrain has provided opportunities of engagement for those who are unfamiliar with the urban dynamic. In this way people’s eyes have been opened, giving them a passion and drive to see lives and neighborhoods transformed.
Second, I have experienced Lighthouse’s food distribution on several occasions as well. On a regular basis they have been able to leverage thousands of pounds of food and deliver it to those in need. Supplying the Central Neighborhood Projects, Lighthouse has been able to get food to thousands of people.
Third, I have experienced Lighthouse as it has sought to transforms neighborhoods by securing and renovating property, helping people move into neighborhoods by providing affordable or free housing. In this way more and more people are able to give their lives to citywide transformation. This endeavor also contains the seeds of Lighthouse’s dream of becoming a self-sustaining ministry.
In the time that I have known Lighthouse I have come to see that this ministry has big vision. Not only do they have big vision, but they have the drive and passion to see that it is fulfilled. I can think of no better organization for any individual to give of their time and resources.