PARKERSBURG - The organizers of the new Latrobe Street Mission want to create a place where people can get a hand up and the help they need to improve their lives for the long term.
The Not For Sale Ministries held the Homeless Empty Plate Fundraising and Benefit Dinner for around 225 people at the Lynn Street Church of Christ Thursday evening to raise funds and to give tours of the new mission at the old Storck Bakery Co. at 19th and Latrobe streets.
As people walked through the building to see how it will be laid out, Teddy Tackett, minister of the Lynn Street Church of Christ, and other guides showed them how the building was going to use its 15,000 square feet to make a separate men's and women's shelter with a kitchen and shower facilities.
Photo by Jeff Baughan
Minister Teddy Tackett, left. pastor of the Lynn Street Church of Christ, which is adjacent to the Latrobe Street Mission, introduces Pasi Sikio, far right, pastor of Life Church in Parkersburg.
Photo by Jeff Baughan
A tour group exits the Latrobe Street Mission on Lynn Street in Parkersburg behind Brenda Ridgeway. who will be the assistant director of the mission.
There also will be transitional housing in the building.
''We want our community to know that we respect the community and want it to be a nice place,'' Tackett said.
As guests walked through the facility looking at the renovations in progress, Tackett pointed out where the living space would be as well as the kitchen area.
''As soon as someone donates a brand new kitchen, it will go in that corner,'' he said pointing. ''I say that with humor, but also knowing that God will provide, because everything we have has been provided.
''We are already taking donations from many different places.''
Marietta College has given 60 beds as well as dressers, desks and other items. The college contacted the church again and gave dishes.
Donations are coming in from other organizations throughout the area.
''When I tell you that is going to be a kitchen, that is what I mean, because God is going to provide that kitchen,'' Tackett said. ''We just don't know where it is coming from yet.''
They are creating handicapped facilities within the facility.
''Everything we are doing will be done by volunteer help,'' Tackett said.
Area churches are committed to helping with the shelter, taking turns daily with needed services and such.
''We are going to do this together,'' Tackett said. ''We want every church in town to feel like they own this mission.''
The shelter is laid out in such a way to emphasize safety and security with separate sleeping areas for men and women as well as secure shower facilities.
The shelter will eventually have 18-month transitional housing for people trying to get back on their feet.
Tackett talked about how his church came together with NFS Ministries to establish the shelter and secure the space, including acquiring the Gustke House nearby from the county.
''God has opened up door for us,'' he said.
Organizers have raised $34,000 and continue to seek funding through donations and grants. It is estimated the shelter will need an annual operating budget of $160,000.
Connie Roberts of the NFS Ministries Board said the shelter is more than providing someone a bed.
''It is about showing love,'' she said.
Latrobe was the name of a prominent builder in the area, so they thought it was good to keep that name for the shelter.
''We are building lives here,'' Roberts said.
Brenda Ridgeway, associate director for NFS Ministries, will be running the day-to-day operations of the shelter.
Organizers are hoping to be open in October. They are expecting to be able to shelter 60-72 people when it opens. Eventually they want to do community outreach and be able to serve meals.
''We are going to be able to help get some of these people off the street and get them into a place that is going to provide the things they need to get them ... back in society and functioning,'' Ridgeway said.
''We are a work in progress,'' Tackett said. ''They used to make bread here and now we are going to serve the Bread of Life here.''