Organization wants to expand community relief efforts

Heavy rains in August 2011 flooded the former site of the Community Relief Organization of Mount Holly. The group is planning to buy a new space later this month, assuming they collect enough to pay for it. (Courtesy of Community Relief Organization)

by Courtney Price

MOUNT HOLLY – The Community Relief Organization of Mount Holly is pushing to raise more than $150,000, and the deadline is quickly approaching.

The money would pay for a new building – replacing the one that flooded in August 2011 – which Executive Director Alice Bayne said the organization plans to buy this month.

“We close on June 25, and we’re hoping to have it all by then,” Bayne told the Mountain Island Monitor. If they don’t raise all the money by then, they’ll have to look at alternative funding options.

The relief agency provides food, clothing, bill payment assistance and help with some prescription medications to those in need in Mount Holly, but things have been tight – literally – since a massive rain storm on Aug. 5, 2011, flooded West Central Avenue, destroying the organization’s building and everything in it.

The group temporarily moved to the basement of the old City Hall building, where donations as well as people have been crammed in to continue helping those who need it.

“It’s so small, that people bump into each other,” Bayne said. “You cannot run a buggy and a person down the hall (next to each other).”

The current site is so small it can only hold food donations – and not all the food fits. The clothing donations have been held at another site, but the CRO recently sold that building and had nowhere to keep the clothes, which Bayne said were donated to another organization.

The new building, located at 2120 Sprint St. near the Food Lion off of Highland Street, will be more than 2,000-square-feet and house all of the CRO’s services.

But the space isn’t nearly as important as the new site’s atmosphere.

“When folks come to us, they’re already down on their luck,” Bayne said. “I would certainly feel much better and more comfortable coming to a bright, cheery, welcoming place. And I think that’s how it will be for them, too.”

Bayne said the organization provides about 10,000 pounds of food and $11,000 in financial aid each month. The organization also coordinates a Christmas gift program for about 300 children in the area.

But once they’ve bought the building, all the CRO’s extra money won’t have to go into a savings account and more can go directly to the people who need it most.

She said the organization is about $30,000 away from the $155,000 goal, but that doesn’t include the renovations and other supplies they’ll need after they’ve bought the building. But she feels confident the community will step up and help.

“The heart of the community in Mount Holly is just huge. The city and community have always come to the CRO’s rescue in times of need,” she said. “I think the community will continue to support us.

Want to help?

The Community Relief Organization of Mount Holly is seeking monetary donations to buy a new site to distribute food and clothing to those in need. Desks, chairs and filing cabinets will also be needed for the new building.

If you would like to contribute to the building fund, send tax-deductible donations to The Community Relief Organization, P.O. Box 831, Mount Holly, NC 28120.

If you have furniture or other items you’d like to donate, call Alice Bayne at 704-827-8581.

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