The Olive Tree hopes to move on up this year with organizers looking at a new permanent location as part of its capital campaign, which will launch shortly in the new year.
The organization currently operates out of several locations with a thrift store, warehouse space, and four different churches where it serves its community meals.
Director Becky Schille said they’re constantly moving around, which makes it hard for volunteers and donors to know where they should go and when.
“So our goal is to be able to serve the community much more efficiently when we have a space of our own,” she said.
“There might still be some (services) that work better in a different facility, we’re not sure if everything will come under one roof, but most will.”
She added The Olive Tree has been looking at different locations in the downtown area, and there’s definitely some good prospects, but nothing’s been finalized yet.
When the capital campaign launches, The Olive Tree is hoping it’ll be able to raise most of the funds within the community, which Schille said has always been generous in the past.
Because the initiative will take a lot of the organization’s time and focus, it won’t be adding any new programming this year, but will continue on with the many services it’s always offered.
“We’re still serving our three community meals each week, we’re still serving our two to three seniors luncheons every week and our mom’s group is continuing on,” she said.
“We will be doing our annual Thanksgiving meal in the fall and that sort of thing.”
As far as achievements for 2016, Schille said the simple fact The Olive Tree was able to keep up with community needs and requests was a highlight for her.
Community meals increased to roughly 125 people and the organization was able to drum up enough volunteers and donated food to keep up with the demand, something she considers no small feat.
“Our Thanksgiving meal was great again, our Christmas party was a lot of fun, but I think just keeping up with the need, I consider that to be our biggest accomplishment in 2016,” said Schille.
Last year also saw the launch of The Olive Tree’s first Seniors Christmas Luncheon, which took place at Grace United Church, and organizers said it was super fun and definitely successful.
“I love it when people get together and get to work together and get along so well,” Schille said.
“We had a few different churches all come, and us, and a bunch of seniors; we had music and incredible food and we had some giveaways—it’s definitely something we’ll continue on with next year.”
She added The Olive Tree is always looking for volunteers and donations, so anyone who likes to cook, wash dishes, or sort clothes—or has some food to donate—is encouraged to contact the organization at 780-870-1060.