As a homeless shelter and soup kitchen in Clovis struggle to raise money to meet an end-of-the-year deadline for kitchen upgrades, some members of the Clovis Christian Ministerial Alliance fear a plan to convert the old Memorial Hospital into a ministry center will cut into funds needed by the Lighthouse Mission.
The plan is referred to as the Matt. 25 project.
“Right now the Lighthouse Mission is the only shelter for people in need other than the domestic violence shelter and I don’t know of any other place in town that has a soup kitchen,” said the Rev. Lance Clemmons, chairman of the Clovis Christian Ministerial Alliance. “If we lose it, it is going to be a great detriment to our community.”
The Clovis Christian Ministerial Alliance is an interdenominational group of area pastors who meet to discuss church matters in Clovis and improve cooperation between local churches.
Clemmons said area ministers discussed the mission’s fundraising situation at their April 1 meeting and several plan to ask their denominations and local churches for help.
Richard Gomez, director of the Lighthouse Mission, said he’s optimistic the ministry won’t fold after 16 years in Clovis.
The Lighthouse Mission, currently located at the 100 block of South Connelly, provides hot meals, clothing, and shelter for area residents.
“I do believe we will make the deadline,” Gomez said. “We have been raising money in different places but we are waiting for the plans to be finished from the architect and from there it goes to the contractor and then we find out what the price will be. Then we take off with our fundraising.”
Gomez said the mission has already raised about $20,000 in cash and $10,000 in pledges toward a new facility that will include the kitchen upgrades required by the state. Lighthouse officials have previously said they want to erect their own building rather than paying tens of thousands of dollars for kitchen upgrades in the building they now rent.
That’s still a long way from the money needed to put up a metal frame building.
“Based on last year’s prices it was $140,000, but the price of steel has gone up drastically, they tell me,” Gomez said.
Sid Strebeck, co-chair of the Matt. 25 steering committee that took possession of the old Memorial Hospital on Thursday, said he doesn’t think having two major fundraising projects going on simultaneously should be a problem.
The situation is comparable to a church that has begun a major building campaign but still has to pay the regular bills, Strebeck said.