It's going to be all hands on deck at the Fort Mill Care Center location on Tom Hall Street the last few weeks in August. The center's big move from its Tom Hall Street location to its new home at 2760 Old Nation Road is underway and will be complete Aug. 31, according to the the facility’s leaders.
Employees and volunteers with the center, which provides short-term emergency assistance to residents of Fort Mill in the form of food, utility payment and some health care, have been working hard to make this move happen. The doors closed for good at the temporary Tom Hall Street location just after noon today. The center will begin receiving clients at its new, permanent home on Old Nation Road beginning 9 a.m. Monday, Aug. 31.
It's a move that's been in the works for 30 years.
“With the permanent home that we have now, it's a gift to the community. It's never going to go away,” FMCC President Diana Bernard said.
Bernard explained that the center has always operated out of churches or schools, rent-free, but any money that was donated was always squirreled away in order to one day purchase a permanent site.
The center bought an old restaurant site _ it used to be Firehouse Grille – and Roger Hendrick with Hendrick Construction Company, and the subcontractors he works with, provided in-kind donations of labor and materials to help renovate the facility. That allowed for significant savings, which means the center only had to take out a small loan to purchase the land.
“We don't want to keep borrowing. We've never had a debt,” Bernard said. “This is the first time we have ever owed money and we don't want to keep digging deeper.”
That's why the Center launched the “Legacy of Caring” capitol campaign. So far it has raised $155,000 toward its $400,000 goal.
“The majority of that has come from small businesses, churches and individuals,” Bernard said. “We now are ready to plead to the bigger businesses for corporate sponsorship.”
The money will not just go toward paying back the loan, but also help fund the next crucial step in the Care Center's expansion. The next phase is to build a permanent pantry next door to the existing building.
“The pantry is so important to get us back to passing out Thanksgiving and Christmas meals,” Bernard said. “And to be able to keep all the food that's raised in Fort Mill,” such as produce from the Tega Cay Baptist Church Community Garden.
Right now, the Care Center can't hold all the food that the community wants to donate.
“We really need the pantry again to hold the local food that the Fort Mill township is donating. We need to be able to keep that again,” said Bernard, “We need to start being able to give back more food than we have in the last two years due to limited space.”
It's an urgent situation that has the Fort Mill Care Center asking the larger employers in town to step up and help out, Bernard said.
“We really need big money to come through now. It's the corporate companies we are really going to plead our case to,” she said.
The center will host an open house and ribbon cutting at the new facility 4-6 p.m. Aug. 31.
Katie Rutland: 864-539-2293, firstname.lastname@example.org, @kt_bell
Need help now?
For those who need assistance before the Care Centers reopens Aug. 31, contact:
▪ Carolina Community Actions 546 S. Cherry Road, Rock Hill
▪ The Salvation Army
119 S. Charlotte Ave., Rock Hill
Tee off for the Care Center
In addition to asking for corporate sponsorship, the Fort Mill Care Center is hosting its first ever golf tournament to help raise funds for the new pantry. For more information, go to fortmillcarecenter.org.