Poverello House breaks ground on new expansion

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- After nearly 40 years the Poverello House is ready to raise the roof by breaking ground on a new expansion project.

"This warehouse, when you walk through it, you've seen the damage, you've seen the sheet rock, you've seen the horrible conditions that this warehouse has been in and yet we still have been able to provide," said Cruz Avila, Poverello House Executive Director.

Avila said the first phase of the expansion project will give the local non-profit a new warehouse. The old one was only 10,000 square feet and only stored dry goods, furniture, and appliances. Frozen items were kept partially in the kitchen's walk-in freezer. The rest stored off site, but the new 19,000 square foot facility will be all-inclusive.

"So all of these enmities are now in house that are going to be able for us, as an organization, to provide a smoother transition when we are providing those meals and those resources to our community."

Avila said the Poverello House serves about 1,600 meals daily and this will allow them to double or even triple that when construction is complete in October.

The Poverello House has raised about $1.7-million to cover the $2.5-million project. Avila said a loan will make sure construction is complete and donations will cover the cost of paying it back.

Fresno Mayor Lee Brand believes the community will help out.

"Nobody can do it in isolation. You've got to do it together. It is the power of collaboration, that's what makes things happen-- and Fresno is so generous."

The project will also include renovations to The Village and Community of Hope.

Avila is proud that founder Mike McGarvin was able to witness the ground breaking on what started out as a simple plan to help people.

"Starting off by handing out a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, water, to the folks out on the streets-- just the human nature and human heart that Papa Mike has," said Avila.
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