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Groundbreaking set for homeless shelter
Open Hearts Community Mission to hold Chocolate Run the following day
W Open Hearts team building
The Open Hearts Community Mission homeless shelter building team reviews building plans. Clockwise from left: Chip Mobley, builder; Joey Hendrix, an engineer with Maxwell Reddick; Kevin Palmer, architect with Palmer and Associates; Tim Durden, builder; and Jennifer Paddock, architect with Palmer and Associates. - photo by Special

Open Hearts Community Mission will celebrate the groundbreaking for its homeless shelter in a ceremony open to the public on Friday, Feb. 20 at 4 p.m.
The location of the groundbreaking and future shelter is 39 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.
    Open Hearts, as described on its website, is “a faith-based ministry serving the homeless by reaching out and extending God’s love” with a mission “to feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, restore the downtrodden and share the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
    The ultimate desire of the ministry is “to promote self-sufficiency by improving physical, mental, emotional, financial needs and addressing social, moral and educational conditions.”
    Delia Mobley, the chairwoman of the Open Hearts board, is thrilled with the upcoming groundbreaking.
“We’ve worked so long for this,” she said. “We wanted to pay for the building and have money to run it for quite some time without having any debt.
    “This mission has truly been a leap of faith,” Mobley continued. “I can’t say enough about how wonderful the community and city officials have been to support this mission.”
    Mobley said in a previous interview with the Statesboro Herald: “Every time we’ve needed something, we’ve gotten it. It’s been a God thing from the beginning.”
    From legal help to a roof donation to framing lumber donations to donated time to clear the lot to financial donations, Mobley said the outpouring of support for the shelter has been tremendous.
    “We currently have a $50,000 matching gift, if anyone is interested in matching it,” she said.
    The celebratory weekend continues the next day with the Third Annual Chocolate Run, the biggest fundraiser for the shelter, held at Georgia Southern University’s Recreation Activity Center Pavilion.
Registration is ongoing at, or participants may register that Saturday morning, Feb. 21, at 7 a.m. A children’s Fun Run takes place at 8 a.m., and the 5K race begins at 8:30 a.m.
    Race partakers indulge in sweet, chocolate treats and receive a T-shirt.
    “This year, it’s gonna get a little messy,” Mobley said about the new option for a “messy zone.” Also new this year is a chocolate cupcake eating contest.
    More than 700 runners participated in previous years’ races, and Mobley expects another huge turnout this year.

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