Life Center, Shelter closure leaves volunteers undeterred

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NEW  GLASGOW – Organizers who have volunteered at the Life Center and Life Shelter  hope its service can continue.

Terri Stewart and Mike Martin, who help with the community breakfast program offered on Wednesdays and Fridays from 8 to 9 a.m. each week at the Life Center church, said the community needs the services.

“I’d like it to keep going,” said Martin, who has volunteered for more than a year. “A lot of people need this place.”

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They were responding to a press release issued recently that the Life Center and Life Shelter  board of directors decided to close the facilities immediately.

Stewart said she heard about the closure two weeks earlier.

“The group wants to set up the breakfast and shelter elsewhere, but they may not be together,” she said.

She said the property would be put up for sale, but in the meantime, the breakfast service has received a small reprieve and will continue to serve breakfast until its last day on November 4. She said that may give the group enough time to find another place.

Volunteer co-ordinator and scheduler Heather Lynch is holding out hope that the Life Shelter can be resurrected while the breakfast service remains in place. This would have been the fifth season for the shelter.

“We’re hoping for a solution between now and then,” she said. “I’ve had a good response from meeting with a couple of people. It’s not going to happen overnight, but it’s a lifeline in the community.”

The breakfast facility seats about 40 and serves 30-60 people each morning. Its youngest regular attendee is 10 months old, Stewart said.

Kevin Johnson, who issued the press release, cited declining church membership, financial pressures and the recent resignation of Pastor Keith Hazzard for the board’s decision to close the facility.

“We are doing everything we can to continue with the breakfast program until November 4, provided we can financially afford to do that,” he said.

The centre has served Pictou County for decades since the original building featuring a vaulted wooden sanctuary opened under the name Calvary Temple.

Besides the year-round breakfast program, the Life Shelter provided a seasonal emergency winter homeless option.

“The Life Shelter has had a faithful and dedicated group of 25-plus community volunteers,” Johnson noted in the release. “The community breakfast program has been a well-loved and well-attended program.”

Johnson confirmed the building will be going up for sale and encouraged organizations that would like to purchase it and continue the shelter to contact him. He said items in the shelter could be given to a community group if there is no sale in the near future.

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