Church network helps local nonprofit

Jan 06, 2014
Bryan Penland and Jimmy Mickalunas with Mike's Heating and Cooling install a new furnace in the kitchen of the Pigeon Multicultural Development Center.

A network of churches is helping a local nonprofit get back on its feet this winter by helping with repairs and installing a new furnace.

The Pigeon Community Multicultural Development Center serves mostly low-income children year-round by offering after school tutoring, computer classes and the popular summer enrichment program.

In October, Lin Forney, director of the center, reached out to the community and local churches for help.

There were severe maintenance needs on the old building, which was built in 1957 and used as a black elementary school while the county was still segregated. However, center leaders didn't have enough money to pay for the repairs needed on the collapsing roof, water damage and heat for the winter.

A network of churches stepped up to help including Clyde Central United Methodist, Crabtree United Methodist, Davis Chapel, Faith United Methodist, Francis Cove, Maple Grove United Methodist, Louisa Chapel, First United Methodist of Waynesville and more.

Bill Upton, a member of Francis Cove United Methodist Church, has been working closely with Forney to identify needs and repairs at the building.

A fellow congregation member recently gave Upton a brand new furnace, which he decided to donate to the center with permission from county commissioners since the building is owned by the county.

Upton arranged for Mike's Heating and Cooling to install the furnace, which will be paid for by the church network.

The new furnace will heat two of the most used rooms in the old building including the kitchen and adjacent meeting room, which once served as a cafeteria.

"That will be a big money saver and a better heat supply," she said.

Forney extended a thank you to Upton for facilitating repairs at the center and for offering the new furnace.

"He has been a tremendous help to us," she said.

The board of directors for the center is awaiting one more price quote from a roofing company before they can move forward with the roof repairs, Forney said.

The board's annual planning and reflection meeting is scheduled for Jan. 11, when they will speak about the struggles last year and their goals for the upcoming year.

Upton said he hopes congregation members at his church and others will plan to volunteer their time at the center not only to help with repairs but also to help with the programs offered at the center.

"This is our community. It's where we live and worship, so we just want to be supportive in any way we can," he said.