by Therese Horvat
Special to The Leaven
LEAVENWORTH — With a strong commitment to be one organization with one name in one building with the mission to serve persons living in poverty, the Leavenworth Interfaith Community of Hope has launched a capital campaign to construct a new facility here.
The 6,000-square-foot building will be located at 3rd and Kiowa on property donated to the nonprofit organization by the city of Leavenworth, and on adjacent purchased property. The new structure will house Welcome Central, the Shelter of Hope and a Day Center — three programs currently operating out of two different locations.
Bill Geiger, of Geiger Ready-Mix, and Jerry Reilly, of Coldwell Banker Reilly & Sons and a member of Sacred Heart-St. Casimir Parish, are honorary co-chairs of the capital campaign. Sister Vickie Perkins, a Sister of Charity of Leavenworth, is director of the Leavenworth Interfaith Community of Hope — an initiative supported by volunteers, community members and 35 Leavenworth churches.
During the gathering on Oct. 18, Rolly Dessert, chair of the fundraising committee and a member of Immaculate Conception-St. Joseph Church in Leavenworth, announced the capital campaign goal of $600,000. Linda Martin, chair of the building committee, said that the three programs are functional at the present time but needs exist for showers, laundry facilities, restrooms, classrooms, private carrels for interviewing and storage space.
Plus, the current overnight shelter for persons who are homeless has access only by a flight of stairs — a challenge for some clients and volunteers who staff the program. The new building will offer economies of scale with space and facilities to be shared across the three interrelated programs.
Sister Vickie acknowledged the cooperative and collaborative spirit of the city and Leavenworth County and the tremendous generosity of persons who have supported Welcome Central and the Leavenworth Interfaith Shelter of Hope since their inception in 2014. She noted that 67 percent of funding for operations has come from churches.
“The capital campaign to build the new structure will help those living in Leavenworth who have hit hard times in their lives,” she said. “Privileged to work with these individuals every day, I’ve come to understand their stories, what they’ve overcome and what they are living through.”
Brandon Johannes, president of the Leavenworth- Lansing Area Chamber of Commerce, said, “We have a great need. This is not a political issue, it’s not a community issue, it’s a human issue. And building the new facility and serving these persons is the right thing to do.”
Martin said that clients provided input into the design of the new space. Sister Vickie added that clients also want to be part of the fundraising and will be selling their hand-crafted items at Dillons, located at 720 Eisenhower Road, Leavenworth, on Nov. 12, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
George Raach, a member of the fundraising committee and also a parishioner of Immaculate Conception-St. Joseph, explained that the capital campaign will reach out to businesses, individuals and organizations. Tax-deductible contributions for the new Leavenworth Interfaith Community of Hope can be sent to 217B N. 5th St., Leavenworth, KS 66048 or made online here. For more information, call (913) 702-8108.