An Orillia organization that feeds up to 70 people per day is urgently seeking a new location.
Living for Jesus Outreach Ministries was facing a steep rent increase at its home at 1033 Mississaga St. W.
“Our rent increased more than we could afford,” said Jim Woolcott, the pastor who founded Living for Jesus with his wife, Patricia.
As soon as the landlord told Woolcott about the rent hike at the end of May, the pastor gave his 30 days’ notice.
“There were a lot of clients crying and saying they’re going to miss this place, but we’re not shutting down; we just have to move,” Woolcott said.
While he would prefer to stay in the current location, he said he understands the reason for the rent increase — higher taxes.
“I’m not mad at (the landlord) at all,” he said.
Anyone who can help Woolcott in his search for a new location, or who knows of an affordable space available, is welcome to call him at 705-345-6197.
Woolcott wants the new space to be wheelchair accessible, on an Orillia Transit route and at least 5,000 square feet.
The Woolcotts opened Living for Jesus 10 years ago, in a small space on Barrie Road, after Patricia “had a vision that we were feeding people,” he said.
“We just stepped in by faith and started it.”
Since then, they have provided about 150,000 meals, as well as clothing, at no charge to clients.
“All we want to do is live for Jesus and feed people and do his work,” Woolcott said. “We don’t preach at them; we just love them.”
He’s hoping to find a new spot as soon as possible, as he doesn’t want to have to shut down for even a day.
“That would hurt,” he said. “That would hurt our hearts.”