Saint John SPCA and Joshua Group reach win-win

Two Saint John charities received some charity from each other this week; the cash-strapped SPCA Animal Rescue sold one of its surplus buildings to the Joshua Group.

The Joshua Group, a group for low-income children, has been looking for a permanent home for two years.

"You know what, we finally found a place that's ours," said director Bobby Hayes. "This is ours. We're here, we've made it this far, and this is a lot farther than we've ever been."

Hayes hopes to have the new site, located on Sandy Point Road in the city's north end, open within months.

The 10-hectare piece of land has a pond and a forest.

An existing building will be renovated to provide a safe place for low-income kids to eat hot meals and socialize, he said.

There's also a barn where Hayes said he hopes kids can learn to box and where mechanics will teach them how to work on engines.

Hayes may also build a basketball court.

"I was very excited, and the thing with me, it's not mine, it belongs to the children," he said.

"I'm excited for them because I know the look on their face, and I know what's going to be accomplished here.

"I know what the kids can do and the opportunities that are going to be opened up."

Meanwhile, the nearly $250,000 the Joshua Group paid for the land was desperately needed by the site's former owner, the SPCA.

The animal shelter's budget was slashed in half by city cuts back in March.

With a growing number of animals, mounting vet bills, and a new building with a bigger mortgage, the SPCA's board announced last week it would have to close down unless it could raise $200,000.

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