Furniture Finds a Home at New Homeless Shelter
They are trying to help homeless people become self-sufficient... and now Gainesville's new homeless center is taking steps to help itself as well. The Grace Marketplace is supplementing hundreds of thousands of dollars in government support with their own fundraising. Today they got a big donation that they plan to convert to cash.
To function, the center needs about $600,000 a year. Its operations director says they are still short almost $250,000. With the furniture donated today and yesterday, the center will be able to sell most of it back to the community to cover the costs of opening the new dorm. But it's not just about making money.
For the past two days, employees at Grace Marketplace and the new homeless shelter unloaded five semi trucks full of donated furniture from Contemporary Management. The regional manager Syd Crosby says, "Sometimes all people need is just a chance, just a little push in the right direction, a little extra help, and we're just thrilled that we are able to do that and to get them on this path and the right direction to get them on with their lives."
Alvin Green is one man whose life has changed after coming to the new center for the homeless and getting a job with its marketplace. He says, "I've moved up in promotions twice within the last three weeks. i've already made supervisor, and it's a super thing because i've never really been part of anything."
Part of Green's job today is to sort through the furniture to see what can be sold. His supervisor says the donation will help cover costs for new furniture for the dorm.
Jon DeCarmine, Grace Marketplace's Operations Director says, "If we purchase anything, we don't purchase one at a time, we have to purchase forty or fifty, so this is going to save us fifty thousand dollars worth of things we would have had to buy otherwise."
The first dorm is scheduled to open in september and will house ten men and ten women. From there, DeCarmine says they will help the homeless look for jobs, get education, and help them transition to self sufficiency....like Green has. Green says, "I didn't…I really didn't have anything you know, when i first came here, but the clothes on my back. and you know, for him to give me a job, the opportunity to make a change and make a difference in other peoples lives, I would just like to thank Mr. DeCarmine for the opportunity that he gave me."
DeCarmine says selling the furniture on Craigslist and in town is not only making money, but also giving Grace Marketplace an opportunity to get their name out to the community. He says he hopes they'll be able to raise enough funds to cover half a month's deficit.
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