Asbury First making last push for Outreach Center
The congregation of Asbury First United Methodist Church hopes to finish raising $4.5 million and create an Outreach Center for the 21st Century at the 200-year-old church.
With $1 million needed to be able to break ground, the final lap of fundraising is a race against the economic effects of the pandemic.
“COVID has changed the game,” said the Rev. Dr. Stephen Cady, senior minister. “We’re receiving more requests for our services than ever before. We don’t know what the next few years will hold, but we want to be in a place to address it.”
The Outreach Center will consolidate essential services provided by the church — food, clothing and household goods, and medical care for more than 10,000 homeless and low-income Rochesterians every year — into one building on the church’s East Avenue campus.
The Asbury Dining and Caring Center, UR Well Clinic and Storehouse are divided among three buildings and are not fully accessible. Many guests have to choose from food, clothing or health care on any given visit when their needs often encompass all three. The Dining and Caring Center and Storehouse are accessible only by stairs.
The new Outreach Center also will create room for new services, such as adding dental care to the medical care provided in the UR Well Clinic.
The Asbury Dining and Caring Center serves more than 35,000 meals each year, and continued to operate during the pandemic by providing to-go boxed meals and offering a bag of groceries with each meal.
The UR Well Clinic, a collaboration with the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, provides free acute health care and physicals needed for employment.
The Storehouse provides more than 6,000 families annually with donated clothing — including clothes for job interviews and the workplace — kitchenware, linens, children's books, games and toys.
Most of the funding for the new Outreach Center has come from the congregation itself. To help close the final funding gap, Asbury First is reaching out to local foundations and interested individuals to help raise the rest of the money.