Shelter begins funding drive
Churches United for the Homeless has launched a second fund-raising drive for its new Moorhead location. Its Brick by Brick campaign seeks to raise $1.5 million through $1,000 donations to help renovate and maintain the homeless shelter in the fo...
Churches United for the Homeless has launched a second fund-raising drive for its new Moorhead location.
Its Brick by Brick campaign seeks to raise $1.5 million through $1,000 donations to help renovate and maintain the homeless shelter in the former Plunkett's Furniture building, 1901 1st Ave. N.
The organization has raised about $1 million of its $2.5 million goal for its new shelter, expected to open Aug. 15.
In the new campaign, any organization or individual donating $1,000 will receive a personalized brick that's placed in the shelter chapel.
Gary Groberg, executive director of Churches United, said his organization hopes to sell at least 500 bricks and collect $500,000.
The shelter will open in August even if the campaign isn't as successful as hoped, he said.
If the drive falls short of expectations, "We'll just have to find a way to pay our mortgage like everyone else," Groberg said.
The new location will have 56 beds, 13 more than in the shelter the organization now operates at 203 6th St. S.
The new shelter will be able to serve more than 40,000 meals and 1,000 food baskets annually, according to Churches United, which bought the former Plunkett's building in 2002 after abandoning plans to fix up its current site.
Shelter officials said demand for their services is up this year, apparently because of state budget cuts and increased scrutiny and credit and rental reports by landlords.
Churches United asked the city for $150,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds for the site. The city turned down the request, but later agreed to guarantee a $112,000 bank loan for the project.
Moorhead Mayor Mark Voxland said the shelter plays a vital role in the metro area. "It really fills a need," he said.
Many of his peers across the state say their city doesn't have anything like it, he said.
Voxland said he was surprised Churches United's first fund-raising effort wasn't more successful.
But Voxland said he's optimistic the community "will really step up to the plate for this second one."
The success of charitable capital improvement projects such as the Churches United shelter depends on how much the project is needed and how well that need is communicated, said Karla Aaland, executive director of the Fargo-Moorhead Area Foundation.
The foundation provides grants and scholarships to individuals, charities and nonprofit organizations in the area.
She said there's clearly a need for the Churches United shelter and that she's confident the Brick by Brick campaign will do well.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Jonathan Knutson at (701) 241-5530