"We are trying to raise $15,000 to get the boiler system fixed," said Drew Thomas, vice president of G.O. Community Development Corp., which has continued the work of G.O. Ministries that was started years ago by the Rev. John Salters and his late wife, Mae Salters, to reach the needs of area families.
The estimated cost of repair is $36,000, but the Ashtabula Foundation put up $18,000, and G.O. CDC must match the amount, he said.
"They have been very generous," Thomas said. "We don't want to close — we ended up feeding 3,065 hot meals in July, and the number of people who come to our seven-days-a-week soup kitchen is ridiculously high."
Forty percent of the people who come to the soup kitchen are children under age 18, he said.
In addition, G.O. CDC distributes food to about 2,300 families per month through the food pantry in cooperation with the Cleveland Food Bank.
"It's mostly the elderly and disabled," he said.
As of Friday, the G.O. CDC has raised $3,000 of the $18,000 needed, he said.
Donations also will benefit the community by keeping the gym and recreational activities alive for hundreds of children and young adults, who enjoy the facility every day, he said.
Four years ago, the Ashtabula Area City School Board sold Thurgood Marshall Elementary School, 3703 Station Ave., to the Rev. John Salters, pastor at G.O. Ministries on Cleveland Avenue, for $13,000.
Since that time, the ministry divided into two parts: the church and the CDC, offering community outreach programs, which include:
• Serving more than 25,000 meals to annually to needy families in Ashtabula County
• Serving hot meals 4-5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday
• A food pantry
• Classes in computers, gardening and sewing
• Providing formula and diapers to children
• An annual Christmas party for children, and more.
Anyone who like to make a monetary donation, can make checks payable to G.O. Community Development Corp. and mail to P.O. Box 1173, Ashtabula, OH 44005.
For more information on how you can volunteer, call Thomas at 216-780-3845.