In an effort to benefit a Pasco, Washington-based Union Gospel Mission organization, over a dozen local McDonald's restaurants have raised $115,000 to help fund renovations for the nonprofit's men's facility that serves men in need with shelter, food and clothing.
For several weeks, 18 fast food locations in the Tri-Cities area of the state have donated 40 cents of every sold drink toward the project, which started out as a compelling initiative by Adams Enterprises, a company that oversees the area's McDonald's locations, along with regional restaurant managers who wanted to help.
"They decided to partner with our community to help the less fortunate and they saw this as an opportunity to utilize their business as a way to give back," said Byron Brooks, the men's services director, to The Christian Post.
The fundraising goal for the new building is $10.5 million and with the help of McDonald's, other agencies and business partners, the organization hopes to break ground for their new facility in 2015. Along with a new building, Union Gospel Mission plans to offer lodging to more individuals since they oftentimes have to turn some away and open an education center and computer lab area to help those who want to complete their GED.
The building that they use now is 106 years old and has never been renovated despite its increasing structural damage.
"It has no heater, it's deteriorated on the outside, it's small and cramped and we have as many as 105 men living here, 50 of them sleep on mats on the floor," said Brooks.
Each day, the organization serves up to 250 hot meals in their dining room area that seats only 34 at a time. Despite the facility's conditions, Union Gospel Mission continues to provide men three daily meals, shelter, showers and clothes that they otherwise would not have.
"The majority are employment challenged or have psychosocial issues that have limited them from the job market, at least temporarily. Others are addicted and they find themselves homeless," said Brooks.
Over the last three years, the organization has experienced a dramatic growth rate and has impacted over 3,000 lives. Their space now limits the amount of services they can provide. However, once they build their new facility, Brooks hopes the men's program can become a "life transformation" center rather than just a shelter and soup kitchen.
Once built, the men's facility will be 36,000 square feet and will also boast a 10,000 square foot community outreach center and warehouse.