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Hamilton nonprofit serving the hungry may close amid financial woes

New Life Mission, a non-profit that has been in Hamilton for nearly 50 years, serving those in need by providing food, groceries and other essential items, may close its doors due to a lack of funding.

Felix Russo leads the mission and told the Journal-News that it lost a key donor this past year, which has caused the non-profit some significant financial issues.

“We get a large chunk of our funding from the North American Mission Board,” he said. “About one-fourth of our yearly $140,000 budget comes from them. But they have realigned their focus and now are focusing more on planting new churches than what our mission is.”

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Russo said that the mission has continued to provide hot meals and groceries to those in need, but is running a deficit of between $4,000 to $6,000 per month.

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“The thing with the mission is that it started in 1969 as a small southern Baptist mission serving food baskets in the early 1970s and it has grown since then,” he said. “We are in a 7,000 square foot building serving 150 hot lunches everyday and have 30 to 40 families visiting our food pantry.”

In order to survive, it will need to come up with $10,000, according to Russo.

“If we raise that amount then that gets all of our bills to zero,” he said. “I’m not sure about how we will survive in the future as we are week-to-week and our electric bill is due Nov. 30.”

Many donors are local businesses, Russo said.

“I know it is hard times for everybody, but like I said we are truly a community mission now and with St. Raphael closing, we are seeing an increase in people who need our help,” he said.

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Russo added that the mission is also offering vaccines twice a week to people who can’t afford to pay for them and is working with the group Prevent Blindness to get eyeglasses and eye exams for those in need.

“It has grown into a community mission,” he said. “Last year we served between 35,000 to 40,000 hot meals. So far this year we have served 36,000 meals and provided 12,000 people with groceries.”

A jazz and food fundraiser has been planned for 6:30 p.m. Nov. 30 at First Baptist Church, 1501 Pyramid Blvd. in Hamilton.

Russo said anyone who would like to help can make a tax deductible donation and mail it to: New Life Mission, P.O. BOX 68, Hamilton, Ohio, 45012 or visit the non-profit’s website at www.missionhamilton.org to donate via PayPal.

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