Funding still needed for Grace Family Center project

2-L Grace Center updateCMYL
The Grace Family Center building has started to take shape over the past few weeks. (Submitted photo)

Donor is offering a matching grant to help close the final gap

Regular drivers on Commerce Boulevard in Mound the past two weeks have been able to watch the walls and roof of Grace Family Center begin to rise from its foundation. Construction began during the winter on the future home of the Westonka Food Shelf and Pennywise Thrift Store. The new building is going up in place of the former Annex building on the Our Lady of the Lake campus, which formerly housed both local charities.

Brent Collins of the Grace Family Center fundraising committee said the original goal had been $600,000 with Our Lady of the Lake committed to beginning the project when 75 percent of the goal had been raised. By the end of 2015, the committee had raised $640,000 through the generosity of several major donors and hundreds of smaller gifts.

However modifications necessary in part because of the building’s proximity to Lake Langdon added another $100,000 to the final cost, said Collins.
Grace Family Center has another opportunity to close the gap and meet its fundraising goal.

A donor from the OLL parish community has offered a $50,000 matching grant. Additional donations in that amount would result in realizing the goal. The fundraising committee is making contact with civic organizations and other churches in the community in hopes of raising the last $50,000.

“We have seen incredible generosity throughout the fundraising process and now we need the community to help in the final push to cross the finish line,” said Collins.

At a recent meeting for civic organizations, Collins and Shelly Sir, Food Shelf Director, emphasized that Grace Family Center is a community project, not just an Our Lady of the Lake project. Both the Westonka Food Shelf and the Pennywise Thrift Store serve the whole community and also draw their volunteers from a wide area. Because OLL has provided free space for the food shelf for nearly 40 years and all workers are volunteers, Sir said, the Food Shelf has been able to use 100 percent of donated food and funds to serve needy

After the Annex was torn down OLL moved the Food Shelf into temporary quarters in its youth room, but Pennywise had to close for this year.

Once Grace Family Center is complete the Food Shelf will move in and OLL has given assurance the church will continue to provide the space free and cover other costs such as maintenance, insurance and utilities, Sir said.

The Pennywise Shop will then be able to reopen. According to Food Shelf volunteers, a number of their clients have expressed that they are anxious to have Pennywise back in business. The new building will also have a meeting room that will be available to community non-profit groups.

Donations to the Grace Family Center are being accepted at First Bank of the Lakes and on the Grace Family Center page on the OLL web site,