None of us could have imagined all the changes in our lives that we would endure during this pandemic. Who would have predicted that almost 600,000 Americans would perish and that we would still be exercising such cautions well over a year from the first cases in January of 2020.
And who would have predicted that so many people would be unemployed and so many in need of the basics to sustain life? It was not long into 2020 when the numbers of people showing up at the House to ask for food and the long line of cars at our mobile food giveaways would more than double. Double! We went from serving 425 to 920 families monthly!
The Seneca County House of Concern and the people of this county came to the rescue. While the House was closed intermittently during those early months while we figured how to work around quarantining and every-thing from plexiglass shields to disinfecting the House every evening, we put our needy clientele first. Businesses and individuals came forth with extremely generous donations in light of the fact that we were unable to conduct our typical fundraisers. We prevailed and people were helped–in the greatest time of need. Thank you all!
Now we have the opportunity to move into a new space in Waterloo that will increase our opportunities many fold. Our overall space will not only increase by 42% but it will be space that is infinitely more flexible and useable compared to the very old and decrepit buildings we’ve inhabited for over 52 years.
That’s right. For over 52 years, the Seneca County House of Concern has been the center for providing a food pantry, thrift store, clothes closet and second-hand furniture outlet in Seneca County. Thousands upon thousands of families have been helped. And, we all know that, sadly, it is very likely that the need in this county will grow, not shrink. The rate of poverty in the county is 12.2% and 42.7% residents have low to moderate income.
Our new space in Waterloo with its 14,000 square feet will be centrally-located to serve the most who find themselves in poverty. Unlike our current building this new building is structurally sound. We will have a handicap-accessible building that is recently constructed and, as a former grocery store, well-suited to our use. It comes with a large accessible parking lot conveniently located right down-town in Waterloo. We will be able to offer classroom experiences—most likely classes in nutrition, cooking and making little go far.
We’ll be able to host our semi-monthly food giveaways from our own loading dock and we’ll be forging partnerships with the weekly farmers’ market outside our door, and a myriad of organizations dedicated to helping people.
We will be purchasing this building this year. Can you help us, will you help us erase that expense and position the House to face the future head on and best prepared? The cost of the building is $250,000 and we need your help to mark that mortgage “paid in full” as soon as possible.
You may make a one-time donation but may we encourage you to consider a pledge that can be spread over as many as three years and paid in installments that fit your budget? Please give this serious thought and be as generous as you possibly can. Your donation is fully deductible to the fullest extent of the tax laws. Together, let us build a strong House ready and able to meet whatever the future will throw at us.
We welcome your charitable donation, which can be made by sending back the enclosed pledge card, or by going online to make an electronic donation.
In sincerest gratitude,
J. Brad Benson
The Rev. J. Brad Benson, campaign chair
A New Home for the House Campaign