HAMILTON, OH (FOX19) - A Hamilton non-profit charity that has fed the needy for nearly 50 years is now pleading for help to remain open.
New Life Mission on Henry Street needs an immediate $10,000 for bills and a new corporate donor after a key one pulled out, said its director, Felix Russo.
The donor, North American Mission Board, gave New Life Mission about a fourth of their annual $140,000 budget, he said.
But now that organization is supporting setting up new churches, leaving New Life with a $4,000 to $6,000 monthly shortfall, according to Russo.
New Life has been getting by week-to-week and is struggling to find money to pay an electric bill due Nov. 30.
"The bottom line is, we're facing closure," he said. "We just don't have enough funds to stay open unless we get more donations in soon."
New Life serves 35,000 to 40,000 hot meals annually. So far this year, they have doled out 36,000 meals and groceries to 12,000 people.
They also help to provide bi-weekly vaccines, free clothing, eye exams, eyeglasses and support for drug and alcohol addicts.
The charity also has a community garden on its property. They grow tomatoes, eggplants and other fresh vegetables used in cooking on site. Neighborhood residents in need are welcome to come and pick what they need, Russo said.
"New Life not only offers food to those in need, but it also provides a location for fellowship," said Don Fugate, president of Fire & Iron Motorcycle Cub Station 147.
Fugate and other members of Fire & Iron, which is made up of several active duty and retired firefighters, volunteers and feeds the poor outside New Life Mission one Saturday a month.
They have come to know and admire Russo and his wife who runs Juliette's Hope Women's Center.
"They open their doors to help families with a food pantry , clothing and help the adults find work," Fugate said. "Felix and Kimberleigh Russo truly care about people . They are non-judgmental and quick to help .
"You see how much help and relief those in need in Hamilton get from the Russo and The New Life Mission. If they close their doors, it will have a horrible effect on this in need in Hamilton .
A fundraiser for New Mission will be held Nov. 30 at First Baptist Church, 1501 Pyramid Blvd, Hamilton. It starts at 6:30 p.m.
Donations can be mailed to: New Life Mission: PO Box 68, Hamilton Ohio 45012.
Or, go to the non-profit's website: www.missionhamilton.org