Care Center to move to Tom Hall Street

joverman@fortmilltimes.comJuly 16, 2013 

— The Fort Mill Care Center has a new home. The center will close the doors to its Banks Street facility on July 31 and reopen on Sept. 4 at its new location in Tom Hall Plaza, on Tom Hall Street across from Bozeman Drive.

“It’s very small but it’s convenient, reasonably priced and will get us through and give us time until we build,” said director Carol Higgins.

Care Center officials signed a lease on the new center last week. The new space is 2,400 square feet, including a 1,200-square-foot food pantry. The food pantry will be significantly smaller than the pantry in the Banks Street center, which occupies more than 3,000 square feet.

The pantry will only be able to stock nonperishable food items.

“It’s better than nothing,” Higgins said.

Care Center officials are aware that the smaller food pantry and limited stock could put a burden on their clients. But after more than six months of searching for a new building, Higgins said that the focus shifted to finding a facility with enough space for the Care Center’s office space, which helps clients with utility bills and paying for prescription medications.

The volunteer-driven organization needs to leave its current location because the property, owned by the Fort Mill School District, is slated for demolition.

Mary Baker, head of Serving Meals Ministry, a volunteer organization that serves hot meals in the Riverview and Paradise communities each weekend, said that downsizing the Care Center will be “devastating” to Fort Mill’s underprivileged community.

“I think it’s going to be really hard on the residents,” Baker said. “They rely on that giveaway, the last two weeks of the month. It’s going to be really hard.”

The last two weeks of the month, she noted, are typically when food stamps run out and families’ needs become greater.

Nonperishable foods, while helpful, aren’t as useful as refrigerated items like chicken, beef and ham, she added.

“People can go and buy a 50-cent can of corn versus getting a piece of protein,” Baker said.

The Salvation Army in Rock Hill has a food pantry set up to serve residents of York, Chester and Lancaster counties. They are prepared to take on extra clients when the Care Center closes in two weeks.

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