SALEM— Less than a year has passed since Union Gospel Mission of Salem launched a campaign toward a major expansion, and already more than half of the $15 million goal has been raised.
Giving an update on the Hope Has a New Address campaign at a promotional luncheon Feb. 19 at Ritter’s restaurant in downtown Salem, mission Executive Director Dan Clem expressed deep appreciation for the progress to date. He said $8.6 million — 57 percent — has been raised since the campaign was announced last May 10.
“We are extremely grateful for those who have come alongside us,” he said.
Local accountant Doug Doty, owner of the building that houses Ritter’s, prefaced Clem’s remarks by urging a focus on God’s help to complete the fundraising.“We can do this,” Doty said. “It’s so easy for God.”
The mission plans to replace its deteriorating and cramped men’s facility at 345 Commercial St. with a new building adjacent to the mission’s existing thrift store about five blocks north on Commercial.
The new 54,000 square-foot campus would give the mission capacity to serve twice as many men annually. Whereas the current facility has 150 beds, the new one would have 300. The chapel would grow from 84 seats to 264, and the dining area would accommodate 200 rather than 84. An expanded learning center would provide an estimated 8,200 hours each year instead of the current 5,100.
Clem said the current men’s mission property has already been sold; the agreement calls for the mission to relocate to the new facility within six years. “We just need to move out,” he said.
Rick Bratton, pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas and mission director of guest services, outlined plans for the three-story building — hospitality and admissions on the first floor, including a medical assessment area; dormitories on the second; and the New Life Fellowship long-term recovery program on the third, which Clem pointed out has an 88 percent success rate. “We’ll have stuff around the clock, doing what we do best, and that’s serving our guests,” Bratton said.
Clem and board chair Candy Hughes agreed the goal is to reflect God’s heart for the homeless “These are the people not loved by society, but they’re loved by Christ, and we love them,” Clem said.
“It’s amazing how, when you care about a person, they really want to change,” said Hughes.
For more information, phone 503-967-6388 or visit ugmsalem.org/capitalcampaign