Open Door circa 1980

Evie Foulkes, Libby Higgins, Murry Hastings circa 1980

Open Door began in 1973 as an outreach program of Church of the Advent. At first, the ministry was one of listening. The founding director, Libby Higgins, sat and listened — their issues, joys, complaints, and hopes. Slowly, Libby began to understand some of the services that could touch people’s lives in this area of Walnut Hills; she and others in the church established some specific services for clients. Among the most important were the representative payee program, the food pantry, and help with access to other governmental services.

As the Open Door Ministry grew, the basement of the church was repurposed to house these programs and other services, including a parish nurse. Others joined in leadership: Angelo Puopolo and Evie Foulkes both served as directors. Volunteers from the church and elsewhere continue to support the programs and connect with neighbors. Programs have changed and adapted to the dynamic needs of the neighborhood: the Open Door continues to listen to learn how to partner and support the community.

JoAnn McIntosh joined Open Door as director in 2016. One priority was a facelift for the basement to make it more inviting and serviceable. JoAnn and a team from Church of the Advent are working to envision what Open Door should look like in the next decade.