Nonprofit buys Free Clinic land, will launch capital campaign
by Kara Lopp
The Matthews HELP Center has purchased .46 acres from fellow nonprofit Matthews Free Medical Clinic, the center’s next-door neighbor.
The move is good for both groups, officials say, in a time where both are in desperate need of more space as demand for services grows.
The HELP Center, 119 N. Ames St., closed the deal last week. The sale price wasn’t available on online county or real estate records by press time. As part of the agreement, the clinic has 18 months to find a new home. A recent $80,000 donation from Elevation Church and Presbyterian Hospital Matthews and the sale of their current property sets the clinic “up for success for finding a space,” clinic Executive Director Amy Carr said. The clinic was founded in 2004, but has been operating out of the house at 113 N. Ames St. since 2008. The property was donated to the nonprofit.
“We’re very excited because of what (the sale) means for us,” Carr said. “We’re very excited because of what the Matthews HELP Center does in the community; we look at this as just an extension of our partnership. We need more room, so this really motivates us to find a space.”
For the HELP Center, the purchase means the successful end to an about one-year search for ways to expand, Executive Director Kim Rhodarmer said. The center plans to launch a capital campaign and begin construction within one to two years. Officials don’t yet know about how much money they’ll need to build or whether the new property will be used to house services or the nonprofit’s Backporch Treasures Thrift Boutique. But, the center won’t use the house currently on the free clinic site, Rhodarmer said, noting it could be moved.
“For more than 30 years, Matthews HELP Center has helped ease local poverty in Matthews and the surrounding community,” Rhodarmer said in a news release. “This expansion will allow us to continue being a driving force to better meet the needs of our neighbors through assistance with food, rent, electricity, water, gas and other necessities during times of crises.”
In the last fiscal year, the center served 3,865 families and fed 3,992 individuals enough food for one week. Since July 2011, the center is on track to serve approximately 5,000 clients and feed 6,000 individuals during this fiscal year, according to the release.
Find more information online about the Matthews HELP Center at www.matthewshelpcenter.org.
Find more information online about the Matthews Free Medical Clinic at www.matthewshealthclinic.org.