Souls Harbour mission pays off mortgage in Halifax, leaving thousands for other programs

·2 min read

The Souls Harbour Rescue Mission in Halifax is mortgage-free after nine years, allowing the charity to put an extra $2,900 per month toward meal and shelter programs.

"I've been Snoopy-dancing all over Mission Mart today because we were finally able, after nine years, to pay off the mortgage of our Halifax drop-in centre," CEO Michelle Porter said Tuesday.

Souls Harbour Rescue Mission operates soup kitchens in Halifax, Truro and Bridgewater, and a retail store in Halifax called Mission Mart.

Porter said the proceeds from the store allowed the charity to pay off the mortgage.

Paul Palmeter/CBC
Paul Palmeter/CBC

She said being able to pay off the Halifax location is a great way to end a hard year.

"It's just an awesome way to finish a year, to just bring some more hope and joy to it and it's just something to celebrate as we head into 2021."

Porter said the number of meals being served each day has risen throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

In August, volunteers at the Halifax location were serving 250 bagged meals a day, up from about 200 a day in March. Across the province, the kitchens are serving about 450 meals a day.

Souls Harbour switched to serving bagged lunches in March when the province announced its first wave of restrictions aimed at minimizing the spread of the virus.

The move came with a steep increase in price per meal, from $3.11 to $4.85, as the charity had to buy takeout containers and pre-packaged snacks and drinks.

Porter said the extra money from the mortgage will go toward that packaging.

"Because they're all takeout meals, the packaging is just so expensive and so this will really help to offset those costs," she said.

CBC
CBC

It will also be used for extra meals and staff funding.

Porter said Souls Harbour paid off the mortgage on its Truro drop-in centre almost exactly a year ago. The Halifax location was the last location to be paid in full.

"No matter what happens in our community — if we have a third [COVID-19] wave — our buildings are all paid for, and we don't have to stop our service to the needy."

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