By Connie Riopelle
Jubilee House Director
Last year we realized that if the Church was having financial difficulty, we would need to do some fundraising to insure the continued operation of Jubilee House. We did not think we should continue to expect funding from the parish while our members worked to support the Church. A fundraising committee was formed and at the urging of Rick Taylor we applied to be one of six Charities participating in Swingshift and the Stars. In May to our great joy we were selected and the process began to create strategies to advertise and SELL Tickets! Little did we know what a journey we were beginning.
This entire experience has been a gift from the Holy Spirit and the community.
Abby Byar, a friend of Rick’s, agreed to be the dancer for our Charity and began working out in preparation for the dance competitions. Mel Kiogima, dance instructor, was assigned to our charity. Mel and his wife, Nancy, choreographed the dances and Mel was Abby’s wonderful dance partner. Abby and Mel won the most popular dancers the first two months, earning an extra $500 each month and finished third overall in the four month competition. They danced a waltz, samba, two-step, and a “Dirty Dancing” number during the four monthly events.
The Holy Spirit was at work through the entire process. People came forward with donations, bought tickets for VIP seating, entire tables of ten seats, and general admission. The result of the sales, community, and parish participation was a net of $55,000. Rick Taylor is a superb salesman and leader as he chaired the endeavor and convinced many people to join in the fun and help Jubilee House reach our goal.
These funds will guarantee Jubilee operations for at least two years plus allow us to enhance services to the homeless and underemployed populations that we serve on a daily basis. During 2016 we served an average of 40 guests per day for a total of more than 10,000 house guests. Imagine, 10,000 guests in your house next year. There is continuous maintenance and upkeep. One big project we will begin in the spring is a remodel of the basement emergency exit. We have completed the handicap access project and we are now fully accessible on the first floor of the house.
Jubilee will continue to have fundraisers to ensure that we are fully funded without asking Vestry for operational funds beyond the utilities and basic support services they have provided over the years. By having a two-year cushion of funds, we have time to raise the funds we will need in two years and to also take care of the unknown issues of our old house.
The 30 volunteers we have work diligently to take care of our guests and the house. At the end of every day the volunteer staff cleans the house for the next day. There are usually four volunteers per day but we do need more help as people go south and take other exotic vacations. Please contact the church office or call Jubilee 231-947-3305 during operating hours (10 am – 2 pm) if you are interested in becoming a volunteer. There is also work to be done at the house beyond hours of operations; if you don’t have time during the day or would like to help, but not directly with our guests, please contact Connie Riopelle, 231-620-2270.
Our successful journey could not have happened without prayer, the Holy Spirit, your donations, participation, and love. Thank you Grace Church, thank you Abby, thank you Rick and Eunice Taylor, and thank you everyone else who helped along the journey.