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Open Door's New Home to Expand Services to North Country's Homeless

1/5/2017

GLENS FALLS, N.Y. – About 25 years after opening its first soup kitchen in downtown Glens Falls, Open Door Ministries continues to walk through the rigors of poverty with some of the North Country's neediest.

"When everything is going wrong in your life, how important is it for somebody to come alongside you and have a different viewpoint and not be judgmental but to walk through it with you?" said Open Door Executive Director Kim Cook.

On Thursday morning, the nonprofit's leadership announced it purchased a new 40,000-square foot home at 226 Warren Street. Until recently, the ground floor served as a furniture store.

"It will be a place of refuge and security and programs," said Open Door Board of Directors Vice President Chris Hunsinger.

"This building is a big empty shell,” Cook said. “There is so much we can do in it and we have just been able to dream big."

Once complete, it will offer much more than the 15 weekly meals provided at the current soup kitchen, allowing space for the city's first full-time homeless shelter and a new location for Code Blue next winter.

"We have the opportunity to serve these people, give them a step up, help them get back on their feet," said Scott Sanger, a volunteer at the Code Blue shelter.

Along with providing life skills and addiction recovery services, it will also feature a drop-in center, health clinic and even a special kitchen designed to teach guests how to cook.

"Feeding people is one thing, but helping them outgrow their poverty and help themselves lift themselves into a better life for themselves is very, very important," said State Sen. Betty Little, of Glens Falls.

Along with grants, Open Door plans to raise $1.75 million over the next three years to cover the project's $5 million cost.

"We can only go as fast as the community's financial support allows us to go," said Cook.

With plans to complete the renovations gradually, Open Door's executive director knows the project is long overdue.

"It terrifies me to think of who is out there and if they are safe,” said Cook. “We can't get it done fast enough."

By Matt Hunter

Time Warner Cable News

http://www.twcnews.com/nys/capital-region/top-stories/2017/01/5/open-door-s-new-home-to-expand-services-to-north-country-s-homeless.html

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