Enquirer Herald

Take a ride to help local shelter

YORK -- Tender Hearts Community Outreach's capital campaign is about to get a lift from a hot air balloon.

Re/Max and the Carolina Mega Team are bringing their hot air balloon and holding a family day from 5 to 9 p.m. Saturday to help Tender Hearts purchase the building it's currently leasing for a women's shelter.

The nonprofit has until July 15 to raise $136,000 to buy the building from the owner, who is moving to Georgia. So far they've raised about $25,000 from local business, churches and private donors.

The shelter houses up to 14 homeless women and children at a time. While there, the women receive counseling, work on getting their GEDs and look for jobs.

Shelley Simmons, Re/Max team leader, said she heard about Tender Hearts ministry from her mother who volunteers there and decided to get her company involved.

"This is our community and I think it's a big deal for women with children," she said. "They're the caretakers of our future."

Tender Hearts provides valuable education, counseling and safety, Simmons said.

"I think that it's awesome that they give them an opportunity to have a fresh start," she said.

The free hot air balloon event will take place at the Filtration Group Plant, 1200 Filbert Highway in York. Aside from the balloon rides, there will also be a bouncy house, sno cones and home made lemonade.

"It's going to be like a carnival atmosphere basically," Simmons said.

Other businesses have also stepped up to help. Lake Wylie Junction, a restaurant in south Charlotte near the lake, is going to donate food, and North American Landscape is donating a palm tree to auction off.

Tender Hearts Director Ainslee House said she'd love to raise the $111,000 more they need to buy the shelter. But if they don't, she hopes they have enough so a bank will finance them for the rest.

"Normally they want three years' worth of financials," she said.

Tender Hearts Ministries has only been in operation for two and a half so far, though.

"If we can raise half of the money, I'm sure a bank would loan us the other half," House said.

For more information about Tender Hearts, visit tenderheartsinyork.org, call 684-3132 or stop by Tender Hearts Thrift Store on Kings Mountain Street in York.