Valdosta’s Living Bridges Ministry expanding
VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) - Living Bridges Ministries in Valdosta is expanding.
The nonprofit organization helps meet the needs of the community and provides a wide variety of ministry programs. After serving the community for 8 years, they’ll break ground Thursday on a new warehouse and work center.
Living Bridges Ministry Director Darcy Gunter said in the last two years, the organization experienced rapid growth, outgrowing its community center and running out of storage space.
“We’re getting so many donations, we’ve just grown so rapidly since 2019 and our building is stuffed,” said Gunter.
Boxes take up classroom space. They had to pause accepting donations at one point.
Two to three times per week, Gunte, along with volunteers, have to move storage back and forth between rooms.
“We’re doing what it takes to make our services happen in this building, but there’s definitely a more efficient and better way to do it and that warehouse and work center will be that,” said Gunter.
Gunter said the pandemic has increased the need for assistance in the community.
Their family clientele list grew. In 2019, they served between 200 to 250 families.
In 2020, they had over 1,100 families.
This year, they’re at 800 families so far.
“It’s just been a crazy ride, a lot like a roller coaster. Think about your favorite theme park and that roller coaster. The pandemic certainly catapulted the need in this community and we met those needs,” said Gunter.
The bare land will soon be the location for their warehouse work center, near Bemiss Road.
Funds raised during the Drug Store annual 5k event in the summer were donated to Living Bridges and they were able to purchase the land.
Another donor has bought the metal building parts.
Now, the organization is fundraising for everything else needed, like the foundation and plumbing.
The community center will remain in the same location.
What is moving out is the donations and they’ll be stored more effectively and used more efficiently.
Gunter said the timeline for this project is between December to March.
“Whatever timeline it takes, it’s going to be worth the wait, we’re happy, we’re blessed by the support of this community,” said Gunter.
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