People & Places

Mission of Hope in Cedar Rapids undergoing renovations

New programs also being added at Cedar Rapids charity

Yolanda Vidao of Greenwood, Ind., Ivan Vovk of Plainfield, Ind. and Lina Lucas, 17, of Avon, Ind. tear wallpaper from the entryway walls at Mission of Hope in Cedar Rapids on Friday, July 8, 2016. The group of volunteers from the Indiana-based Fairfield Friends youth group reached out to Mission of Hope, which is currently renovating its new location in the former Central Park Presbyterian Church. The Christian faith-based nonprofit agency connects underserved community members with basic needs, though it hopes to broaden its offerings to more long-term solutions. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
Yolanda Vidao of Greenwood, Ind., Ivan Vovk of Plainfield, Ind. and Lina Lucas, 17, of Avon, Ind. tear wallpaper from the entryway walls at Mission of Hope in Cedar Rapids on Friday, July 8, 2016. The group of volunteers from the Indiana-based Fairfield Friends youth group reached out to Mission of Hope, which is currently renovating its new location in the former Central Park Presbyterian Church. The Christian faith-based nonprofit agency connects underserved community members with basic needs, though it hopes to broaden its offerings to more long-term solutions. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
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CEDAR RAPIDS — A new era is being ushered in at a Cedar Rapids charity.

“Restoration Mission of Hope is refreshing our facilities and retooling our programs,” said Joe Polzin, interim executive director at Mission of Hope, 1700 B Ave. NE, which provides meals, bible studies, a food pantry, shelter, emergency clothing and support services to those in need.

The renovations and preparations for new programs are taking place throughout the month of July and are being funded by GoFundMe donations.

Mission of Hope’s board of directors plans to create more restoration and development services rather than just relief services, Polzin said. The board’s goal is to have one third of services be devoted to relief, a third to restoration and a third to development, said Kim Reem, secretary of the board of directors.

“We’ve been handing out a lot of fish, but not teaching people how to fish,” Reem said.

The organization’s volunteers are being trained to help identify the needs of those who come for relief services, Polzin said. Some of the restoration services will include microbusinesses, which will enable the individuals to start earning an income, Reem said.

Some development services, such as job-skill training, already are offered in the area and Mission of Hope will begin working with those organizations, Polzin said.

“We don’t have to reinvent some of those — we just have to be referral agents,” Polzin said.

Housekeeping tasks and renovations also are being completed by volunteers.

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“One of our main focuses is the main entrance — we want it to say, ‘this is a place that could support me,’” Polzin said, adding that the walls will be decorated with lines from Scripture to illustrate Mission of Hope’s Christian roots.

The charity hopes that its new initiatives will send a message to volunteers that this is an organization they want to serve, Polzin said.

One thing about Mission of Hope won’t change: their willingness to serve patrons in a judgement-free zone, Polzin said.

“People come in here and they feel safe in whatever condition we find them in,” Polzin said. “They can come as they are and yet feel there’s more for their life.”

To donate to the renovations, visit www.gofundme.com/2cxsb6c

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