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Ann’s Helping Hands gets a new space for its thrift store, services

PORT BYRON, Illinois -- Ann’s Helping Hands, Port Byron nonprofit that provides gently used clothing and household items to those in need, has been without a home for a month.

The thrift store was torn down in March after the lease expired.

But things are looking brighter for Ann McCarrell and her helpers.

The Congregation at the First United Methodist Church in Port Byron on Sunday, April 28, voted to allow a community center to be build on its land.

The new center would house Ann’s Helping Hands store – as well as provide enough space for other services to low income families.

McCarrell’s relief was mixed with a bit of trepidation.

“Grateful,” she said of her first emotion. “Thanks be to God that we’ve come this far, that we have home now. But then the realization also that now we have to do the fundraising and that takes a lot of people.”

McCarrell needs to raise at least 75 percent of the cost – $194,000 before construction can begin. She hopes a GoFundMe page, community members responding with in-kind or cash donations will get her there.

She estimated that it would take three to six months to raise the necessary funds.

She’s now working to collaborate with community organization, churches and the Riverdale School District to raise those funds.

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