Much of the focus throughout the Souls Harbour ‘Love Your Neighbour’ fundraising banquet on Wednesday night surrounded the construction of the new facility in Moose Jaw.
Specifically, if it was going to happen at all given the lengthy ongoing timeline.
Souls Harbour executive director Joe Miller had good news, though -- things are moving along, fundraising is coming together and it’s only a matter of time before folks see equipment at work on the site on the corner of River Street and Second Avenue N.W.
Around 70 people took part in the sixth annual edition of the banquet at Grant Hall, getting a general idea of how Souls Harbour is doing these days to go along with the building update.
“For us, any fundraiser and this banquet in particular, the hope is that we come here and present well what we’re doing,” Miller said. “People are here because they know there’s a need and we hope that we can explain what we’re doing to address that need in the community.”
A major part of that work in Moose Jaw focusses on Riverside Mission, with the new facility bringing a huge upgrade to what they can currently offer.
So where exactly do things stand?
The project is expected to cost $3 million once things are all said and done, with around $150,000 raised so far. Souls Harbour has about $1.3 million in cash dedicated to the project and plans to liquidate assets in Regina to bring in another $700,000 to $1 million. From there, the plan is to mortgage the remainder of the balance and fundraise to cover that.
Once things are lined up in that direction, it’ll be time to get shovels in the ground.
“One of the things I’ve learned doing this over the years is you make a plan and you have to be flexible and able to change and that’s what we’re doing as we need to with this project,” Miller said. “We’re hoping that once everything gets going and construction begins we’ll see more donations come in and it’ll help things move along even quicker.”
Until the new facility is completed, Riverside Mission will continue to work out of its building on Manitoba Street. That includes the daily free meals, help with shelter and clothing and all the usual assistance they give on a regular basis.
“We’re always busy,” said Rachel Mullens, Riverside Mission director of emergency services. “We’d like to say we’re going to eradicate homelessness and poverty, but I don’t think that’s ever going to happen, to be honest. So there will always be a job for us.”
Getting an update on the project was especially valuable given the questions surrounding things, Mullen said.
“I think people in the community were starting to say ‘is this ever going to happen’ and it was time for us to make a statement on that and explain what’s going on,” she said. “Joe did a great job of that and now we know how things are looking”
While Riverside continues to plug along, they can always use a bit of help. Mullens reported that the shelves are a touch bare when it comes to non-perishable food items and was hoping the community would help with that issue.
“Anytime we put that plea out Moose Jaw always rises to the occasion,” Mullens said. “So we’re busy but we’ll keep doing what we do.”
For more information on Souls Harbour and Riverside Mission, visit www.shrmsk.com.