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Good News still raising funds for shelter expansion

POSTED: January 5, 2014 12:09 a.m.

A local shelter and food bank has received an extension to raise funds for expansion.

“We are having success in our fundraising campaign,” Good News at Noon volunteer Ben Parker said. “We’ve raised between 25 and 40 percent of our goal ... and our next target date is Feb. 20.”

The Gainesville-based nonprofit originally had a deadline of Dec. 20 to raise $225,000 to buy 2.5 acres of land adjacent to the shelter.

Parker, who is the project coordinator for the expansion, said it’s necessary to help accommodate the number of people the ministry serves — which is around 100 people for lunch and 50 for dinner on a daily basis. It’s also a shelter for 20 men, and a youth ministry.

“Everyone that’s seen (the expansion plans) is excited,” Parker said. “They see the potential.”

The plan for the property is to renovate the existing buildings into a youth center, gymnasium and a nearby pavilion for people to enjoy the outdoors. There are also plans for a soccer field, which would give the children involved in the ministry somewhere to play other than on the concrete.

Previously, Parker said he’s already received offers from construction companies to help with some of the building renovations, as well as the donation of a gym interior from Cleveland, Ohio. But first, the shelter has to acquire the property.

December was an admittedly tough month for fundraising, but Parker said volunteers will be more visible over the next two months to collect donations.

“When we hit the holidays, we just sort of went on ice for a few weeks,” he said. “It was just impossible to try to heckle people’s doors during the holidays. As soon as we get past Jan. 1, we’re going to be out and visible.”

The shelter had raised $26,000 by the beginning of December; though Parker did not have the exact amount raised by the end of the month, he said it’s well on the way to reaching the total needed to purchase the property.

He also invited community members to just stop by the shelter at 970 Davis St., Gainesville.

“We’re (open) 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, 55,000 meals a year,” Parker said. “A lot of people that want to know what’s going on are just coming over. Come on over anytime for a tour and to see what’s happening at Good News.”


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