After 59 years of helping the community, Canal Winchester Human Services hopes to build a permanent home -- One Square Foot at a Time -- this year.
Human Services Administrator Penny Miller said the goal is to raise $250,000.
Since 2012, Human Services has been spread out across several locations. It operates the Community Food Pantry out of rented warehouse space on West Waterloo Street; has offices and storage space at the Frances Steube Community Center on South Trine Street; parks its vans at various city lots; and takes care of land donated for community gardens that provide seasonal produce for food pantry clients.
"From the beginning, the executive board has acknowledged that renting instead of owning a facility is very expensive and not cost-effective for the long term," Miller said.
"It's difficult to ask donors to fund operating expenses that have no long-term value, such as rent, especially while you need their financial support to operate the programs like the food pantry and our senior transportation."
Miller said Canal Winchester Human Services has had to take on additional expenses while trying to meet the needs of increasing numbers of people seeking assistance.
"After the city had to stop providing drivers and scheduling staff for senior transportation in spring 2013, we had to assume those responsibilities, requiring more staff; at the same time, our food pantry clients exceed 1,300 people," she said.
"This necessary expansion of programs and services will all benefit from having staff and resources, as well as our programs, centralized in one location."
To accomplish this, Miller said the organization is launching the One Square Foot at a Time capital campaign.
She said Human Services is negotiating to buy property and officials hope to start construction in late spring or early summer.
"The organization has had a local architect and construction firm donate time into developing preliminary site plans, but until the land negotiations are completed, plans can't be firmed up," Miller said. "They'd like to build within the city limits but that will depend on negotiations for the land."
She noted that each $50 donation "will provide one square foot of space in a permanent facility.
"We encourage donors to make donations in honor of loved ones. Every donation will be permanently acknowledged in the new facility."
Although large donations are being sought, Miller said this campaign, like most funding for Human Services' programs, will be met as much by small, individual donations as it will through large group donations and in-kind services.
More information about the campaign and on how to donate will be available online at www.cwhumanservices.org.
Those interested can also email Miller at penny.cwhs@ gmail.com.
"We hope everyone will want to own a piece of Human Services' future, and see this as a way for the community to come together in celebration of our past success while preparing for the needs of the future," she said.