Open Door began in 1973 as an outreach program of Church of the Advent. At first it was just an office with Libby Higgins sitting and listening to neighbors — 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 set up 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 ministry grew, the basement of the Church was re-purposed 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 help.
JoAnn McIntosh joined Open Door as Director in 2016. One priority was a face-lift 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.