Donations keep financially struggling Hamilton charity open thru year's end

Donations keep financially struggling Hamilton charity open thru year's end
Felix Russo, director of New Life Mission, and Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones. (Provided)

HAMILTON, OH (FOX19) - An outpouring of community support and $11,500 in donations, including $3,000 personally delivered by Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones, will keep a financially struggling Hamilton charity open through year's end.

FOX19 NOW reported late last week New Life Mission on Henry Street would be forced to close after losing their corporate sponsor earlier this year.

A fundraiser for New Mission is  planned Nov. 30 at First Baptist Church, 1501 Pyramid Blvd, Hamilton.

But the non-profit needed an immediate $10,000 for bills and other operating costs.

In response to our coverage, New Life now has that and then some to help tide them over, said director Felix Russo.

"Thank you so very much for your help," he told FOX19 NOW late Monday. "There has been an overwhelming response with the news coverage. "God is good. Getting the story out has also put me in contact with others that may be able to help our financial situation."

"Sheriff Jones donation was very much appreciated. He was also able to get a tour of our facilities. He commented how clean our kitchen is," Russo said.

"Freedom Baptist in Hamilton donated $4,200. There were many individuals donating and buying tickets to our fundraiser," he said.

"This has definitely helped us to keep our doors open longer, but we have a long road ahead in securing sufficient monthly operating funds."

New Life has been getting by week-to-week and was struggling to find money to pay an electric bill that had to be paid by month's end or the power would e cut off, effectively closing them down.

Sheriff Jones read our story and reached out to Russo.

He went to the soup kitchen at lunchtime Monday and took a tour, watching as some of the 130 hot fresh meals served daily were handed out.

Jones marveled at how clean the kitchen was and at the soup kitchen's solid, good reputation for helping out those down on their luck.

Before he left, he gave Felix $3,000 for the utility bill. The money came from his campaign fund Friends of Richard Jones.

"You made it happen," he told us when we contacted him about the donation.

Jones said he felt compelled to help out because he was impressed during his visit and sees a real need for New Life to remain open.

It's especially important now, the sheriff noted, after St. Rafael family homeless shelter shut down in Hamilton earlier this year.  It had 40 beds and eight apartments.

Its owner, Mercy Health, said at the time they decided to solely focus on health care for needy people. Mercy Health unsuccessfully tried to find another entity to take over the shelter before the doors shuttered.

Meanwhile, New Life continues to serve 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, according to Russo.

They also help to provide bi-weekly vaccines, free clothing, eye exams, eyeglasses and support for drug and alcohol addicts.

This year, they started growing a community garden on site.

They planted tomatoes, eggplants and other fresh vegetables - and use the fresh produce in meals prepared in their kitchen.

Neighborhood residents also are welcome to walk up and pick what they need.

New Life is located at 415 Henry St., directly across South 4th Street from Symmes Park Playground.

The facility is open Monday-Thursday 10:00 a.m. to 2:15 p.m.

Saturday lunch is served 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

A meal also is provided after Sunday Worship Service, which starts at 5:00 p.m.

Donations can be mailed to: New Life Mission: PO Box 68, Hamilton Ohio 45012.

Or, call Russo at 513-313-2312, or visit their website: www.missionhamilton.org

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