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Our Neighbors’ Place is going places

Our Neighbors’ Place Day Center is moving to 1207 S. Main St., just south of Dick’s Hometown Liquor. The building previously housed a daycare center but is now empty. It belongs to River Falls businessman Dick Rinehart.

In February, Mary Jo Sutton asked the crowd at the Chamber of Commerce’s annual CHOSCARS banquet if anyone had a building Our Neighbors’ Place Day Center could use for free.

Sutton, ONP board president, said the day center needed to move to a new location.

Michelle Rinehart was moved by Sutton’s plea.

“I just know it’s a good organization and my family has always been interested in giving back to the community,” Rinehart said.

So Rinehart told her parents about ONP’s problem.

Michelle Rinehart and her siblings took control of Dick’s Hometown Liquor and Dick’s Fresh Market last year from their parents, Dick and the late Carol Rinehart.

Michelle Rinehart knew her parents owned a former daycare center, Corporate Kids, at 1207 S Main St. that was now vacant.

Dick Rinehart said he and Carol were happy they could help ONP, especially Carol, although they were not able to finalize the deal with ONP before Carol’s death.

“My wife and I had talked about this before her passing in February,” Dick Rinehart said. “She thought that it was just a wonderful thing that we could do and giving them an opportunity to have a nice, large place for their store and their meetings.”

The Rineharts rented the building to ONP for “a very nominal rent,” Sutton said. She said ONP will save about $400-$500 a month.

“$500 a month is significant when you start looking at the overall picture,” she said.

The Day Center’s move to 1207 S. Main St. is not permanent. Rinehart said he’s given ONP a one-year lease.

Sutton said she expects the day center will be in its new location for about 2-3 years, which she hopes will give ONP enough time to find a new location.

Our Neighbors’ Place is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping the homeless in the River Falls area. ONP runs an emergency shelter for families and The Day Center.

The Day Center is run by volunteers “guest coordinators” who help Day Center “guests” find help for their needs.

The Day Center offers computer, phone and fax machine use; limited laundry services; a mailing address; and helps connect those in need with area agencies that can fill their needs, such as Assistance and Resource Center (ARC), WestCAP, and the Salvation Army.

The Day Center also includes “The Closet,” which offers very affordable clothing for those in need, and vouchers for clothing to those who can’t afford it.

For the complete story, see the April 24 print edition of the River Falls Journal.

Gretta Stark

Gretta Stark has been a reporter for the River Falls Journal since July of 2013. She previously worked as a reporter for the New Richmond News from June 2012 to July 2013. She holds a BA in Print and Electronic Media from Wartburg College.

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