Onslow Community Outreach nearly halfway to fundraising goal

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Goodwill Community Foundation’s donation brings new shelter closer to fruition

A major seed was sewn Wednesday morning that will help support some of Onslow County’s most vulnerable citizens.

Onslow Community Outreach (OCO) was on the receiving end of a $50,000 matching grant given by Goodwill Community Foundation, a Durham-based, tax-exempt organization which provides employment, volunteer opportunities and family services for parents with children with disabilities.

Don Herring, OCO chairman, accepted the donation from GCF Director of Regional Community Development Stephenie A. McLean in a brief ceremony inside the future home of OCO at 1210 Hargett St. in Jacksonville.

“This is a very exciting partnership,” Herring said after receiving the grant from McLean. “We’re prepared today to fully fund the matching grant.”

In February 2018, the OCO board established a fundraising campaign, “Changing Lives,” and set a goal to raise $500,000 from 500 individual donors each giving $1,000, according to Herring.

Currently, Herring said $150,000 has been raised - but coupled with GCF’s donation and another large gift expected to be received next month, “we should be over 50 percent of our goal by the end of this summer.”

McLean and her organization became involved two years ago after OCO Executive Director Theo McClammy sent out a distress signal when, at the height of a heat wave, the soup kitchen’s freezers broke down.

“I was watching television when I saw Theo asking for help. I discussed with GCF officials and we agreed to give OCO $3,500 to help them get new freezers,” McLean said.

Wednesday’s grant presentation is a continuation of that partnership, McLean said.

“We are pleased that the resources that we have provided have been leveraged for the good of the community,” McLean said.

Each day, OCO feeds lunch to between 120-to-150 people at its Court Street location and an additional 600 people throughout Onslow County, according to McClammy.

When the new center is fully operational, OCO expects to nearly double the number of residents from its current 26 to 50 as well as provide a soup kitchen and community center for people seeking relief from severe cold or heat.

For more information on OCO and how you can help, call 910-455-5733 or visit OnslowCO.org. For more information on GCF, call 919-451-5943 or visit GCFLearnFree.org.