One of the major items is a new roof. Gower explained when the roof was leaking in some spots, last year some patching was done. Now, there are leaks in the dining room and office and the roof needs to be completely replaced. But, the shelter does not have enough funds to have it replaced. Complicating matters is the fact the roof has an odd shape to it.
Another problem that has developed is flooding in the basement. She said the water has gotten so high staff members have had to put on boots to wade through it. The flooding shorted out the freezers and the shelter lost a water heater because water had gotten inside of it. In the past, the shelter has never had any flooding problems and she is not sure what it causing it.
According to Gower, the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) state grant the shelter receives has been drastically cut.
GFS has one full-time and one part-time Americorp employee working and this year the cost for the Americorp workers has gone up $1900, to a total of $5980. However, Gower points out if GFS was paying the wages for those employees, without utilizing Americorp, the cost would be more like $21,996.
The GFS budget is on the same fiscal year as the State of Illinois, which began its fiscal year July 1. Gower said she already has the budget for GFS done, but notes the state still does not have one yet. She said she probably would not know how the state’s budget would impact GFS until August or September. Until that time, she says she tries to really be conservative with the GFS funds and relies on donations from the community, which she said have been wonderful.
Gower said there are churches that regularly drop off paper towels and shampoo for the residents at the shelter and those donations, she stressed, are appreciated and needed, especially when GFS’ amount of donations from Massac County United Way was also cut.
She said the Metropolis Planet’s Groceries for Good community food drive in November is usually always able to keep the shelter stocked in canned goods for the whole year. That food drive, along with other food drives held by the homemakers at Thankgiving, helps keep food on the table for the women and children.
Other community groups drop off diapers for the babies. “The community at large has been very good,” said Gower, adding, “God provides for us. We always get what we need.”
Gower noted the shelter has a Facebook page and when the shelter is in need of an item or items, a post will be made on the page and she said people usually respond by helping the shelter. Currently, the shelter’s website is down, as a new one is in development.
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