History

Twenty-two years ago, Duane and Lisa Crabbs moved into the Summit Lake neighborhood. They established a presence there as a family, as neighbors, and as pastoral friends. As they raised their own children, neighborhood kids would join the Crabbs family for whatever event was planned. Children from Summit Lake would join the Crabbs family on a trip to the library, for an evening bonfire, or to play on the swing-set.

As the Crabbs children grew up, presence turned into programming and the present youth activities of South Street Ministries were formed: after school program, bike shop, youth gardening, summer camp, open gym, football camp, girls group, and throughout it all, a continued neighborhood presence.

Today, South Street Ministries is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that is committed to the physical, socio-economic, and spiritual well being of the South Akron/Summit Lake neighborhood. Founded in 1997 by Duane and Lisa Crabbs, South Street has had eighteen years of programming, ministry, and shared life with, for, and amongst the poorer residents of Summit Lake and South Akron.

South Street’s mission statement is: Unlikely partners taking shared risks to renew our community for Christ’s sake; thus SSM reaches across racial, economic, cultural, and religious barriers for the enrichment of the community. This mission is best quantified through South Street’s programmatic efforts.

The major programs of South Street include RICH KIDS enRICHment youth program (school-year and summer), Bike Shop, South Street Reentry Services, Open Gym basketball (teens), #AdjustTheCrown (teens), and youth sports support. The largest endeavor of South Street Ministries is The Front Porch, where most of the daily activities of South Street now take place, including the Café, Reentry, and general administration.

The Front Porch building, located at 798 Grant St. in South Akron, was donated to South Street Ministries in 2008. Hank Richards and the Kingdom Builders owned the property and prayerfully transferred the building to South Street in order to open up the Front Porch Café. With the support of Christ Community Chapel’s Micah 6:8 support, the interior of the Front Porch Café was renovated into a fully functioning kitchen. As the Café grew, so did the ministry and impact of the Front Porch space: recovery groups and motorcycle clubs made the café their home. The Summit County Reentry Network began weekly peer-to-peer reentry meetings, and Faithful Servants helped with the backroom renovations to open up a health clinic in the community. As second-floor renovations completed in 2017, the Akron Leadership Foundation moved in to offer leadership development, economic development, and a place of networking to The Front Porch. Today, The Front Porch, operated by South Street Ministries, is more than all of its individual parts — it is a community hub for recovery, reentry, health, spirituality, and gathering in the South Akron neighborhood.

As a ministry of presence, we engage in a lot of work that is not quantifiable, but is deeply valuable. This includes pastoral counseling, emergency support, community referrals, as well as a consistent, loving neighborhood presence in South Akron and Summit Lake.

We are unlikely partners taking shared risks to renew our community for Christ’s sake.

Eighteen years ago, Duane and Lisa Crabbs moved into the Summit Lake neighborhood. They established a presence there as a family, as neighbors, and as pastoral friends.

As they raised their own children, neighborhood kids would join the Crabbs family for whatever event was planned. Children from Summit Lake would join the Crabbs family on a trip to the library, for an evening bonfire, or to play on the swing-set.

As the Crabbs children grew up, presence turned into programming and the present youth activities of South Street Ministries were formed: after-school program, bike shop, youth gardening, summer camp, open gym, football camp, girls group, and throughout it all, a continued neighborhood presence.

South Street Ministries is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that is committed to the physical, socio-economic, and spiritual well being of the South Akron/Summit Lake neighborhood. Founded in 1997 by Duane and Lisa Crabbs, South Street has had eighteen years of programming, ministry, and shared life with, for, and amongst the poorer residents of Summit Lake and South Akron.

South Street’s mission statement is: Unlikely partners taking shared risks to renew our community for Christ’s sake; thus SSM reaches across racial, economic, cultural, and religious barriers for the enrichment of the community. This mission is best quantified through South Street’s programmatic efforts.

The major programs of South Street include after-school tutoring, summer youth camp, urban gardening, bike shop, jail ministry, open gym basketball, South Street Studio (for teenage girls), and youth sports scholarships (including football, soccer, and wrestling). The less measurable but nonetheless qualitative efforts include pastoral counseling, emergency food, and shelter assistance, as well as a consistent, loving neighborhood presence.

Recently the Front Porch building, located at 798 Grant St., has functioned as The Front Porch Cafe and as an employment-training center; with the present reconstruction of the second floor, the Front Porch will offer a location for local business, art, social services, and ministry offices.