Churches asked to help fund Cape Girardeau homeless shelter renovation

Thursday, September 30, 2010
The Shelter of Hope, 320 S. Sprigg St. in Cape Girardeau, photographed in July. The homeless shelter will now be called Sprig of Hope. (Fred Lynch)

At least 18 area churches on Oct. 10 will be asking parishioners to each give $10 as part of a fundraiser to help come up with $60,000 or more that organizers say is needed to complete the renovation of a building on Sprigg Street that will serve as a homeless shelter.

The fundraiser is sponsored by Love INC, the United Way of Southeast Missouri and Sprig of Hope Shelter, which is the newly formed not-for-profit group that is overseeing the management and renovation of the building at 320 S. Sprigg St. in Cape Girardeau.

"No one person can fully pay for the renovations," said Eva Hillis, executive director of the faith-based group. "But if we band together, we know we can do this. I'm even hopeful that we may raise enough to pay for the shelter's first year of operating expenses."

That would increase the total amount needed to more than $90,000, she said, which would pay for a shelter manager, the renovations and other expenses.

Renovation of the building -- which Hillis described as basically "a shell right now" -- was originally being organized by Shelter of Hope Homeless Ministries under the supervision of Chaplain Terry Wildman. Hillis said Wildman now is focusing on the ministry to the homeless and the shelter board is focusing on getting the building, which was once a pool hall, renovated.

The money would pay for a $30,000 sprinkler system that is required by the city, as well as erecting walls and putting in a dining area and 10 beds for the area's homeless.

"We're not trying to build the Taj Mahal," said Craig Bohnsack, a shelter board member and vice president at Alliance Bank. "We just want to have a place to get some people out of the cold."

Demolition of the inside of the building has already been completed, Bohnsack said. J&R Construction was the general contractor and Tex Electric provided electrical work and both donated their time and labor.

The first donation was announced Wednesday at a news conference, where the United Way gave $1,000 to get the ball rolling, said executive director Nancy Jernigan.

"This is the perfect mission for the church to take on," Jernigan said. "Love INC has been filling in the gaps, but we need to get the people in the churches more engaged in the community. There's no more difficult problem to address than homelessness."

smoyers@semissourian.com

388-3642

Pertinent address:

320 S. Sprigg St., Cape Girardeau, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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