‘Donations have diminished’: Clinton organization hopes to continue mission
Victory Center Ministries has been in operation for 34 years
CLINTON, Iowa (KWQC) - An organization that’s been serving the community in Clinton and beyond for decades is experiencing shortages in its budget.
Victory Center Ministries has been in operation for 34 years. The impacts of the pandemic increased need, and more are making it difficult to keep up.
The organization people who are unhoused or anyone who needs a warm meal twice a day.
“You can always tell when the food is good...nobody’s talking,” Ron McKinney said.
McKinney came to the center in December of 2020 looking for a fresh start. Through the ministry, he’s used his talents in the kitchen and is now employed as the head chef at the center.
“It’s been a nice ride, I can tell you that. It’s been a learning journey for me...learning journey.”
Recent hardships though are impacting operations at the organization.
Executive Director and Founder, Ray Gimenez, said they’re experiencing some financial shortfalls.
“Donations have diminished...our services continue and they’re getting even bigger because the need is greater,” Gimenez said. “There’s a threat that the lights may be turned off. We had a threat last week actually you know and I don’t want to go through that again.”
The organization was also impacted by the loss of rental spaces they were able to use pro bono at the YMCA building in Clinton in October 2020.
“We were in there almost 11 years. We had 28 individuals, half of them were disabled,” Gimenez said.”They were paying a very reasonable rent fee to us and we used that money, cash flow, to help defray the expenses of the operation of the Victory Center over those years. Now, we don’t have the cash flow that we normally have $80,000 to $90,000 a year, we don’t have anymore and that’s what created this financial crisis right now.”
They’re seeking out community support so they can continue their mission.
“Every morning I wake up and I thank God that I’m still here...that it’s not a dream,” said Nicole, a woman who’s staying at the shelter.
Nicole came to the women’s shelter a week and a half before she had her baby boy. It’s been several months now and the services the organization provides have been a godsend for her.
“For the first time in the last 5 years,” she said. “I’m not worried that I’m gonna get kicked out on the street. I’m not scared [someone’s’] gonna hurt me. I’m not scared of it no more. I’m actually getting on my feet and yes there’s still those bumps here and there but I’m getting somewhere...finally.”
Nicole is currently working on getting her High School Equivalency diploma and her driver’s license.
The faith-based ministry has been helpful for both Nicole and McKinney.
“My will to continue to move forward is so strong right now. That’s why I get emotional,” Nicole said, “Victory Center Ministries has contributed so much to helping me get on my feet and making sure that I know that I am worth it, and anybody who helps that will also know that too.”
“I always had a plan to get out of here but now it’s like, I love being here learning more about the Christian walk and what this actually stands for,” McKinney said.
The organization is hoping to keep the 34-year legacy going to help more people along the way.
“We’re in desperate need of telling the people and our donors and people who really love what we’re doing to help us during this time of crisis,” Gimenez said. “We need to continue to survive. We have 34 years and I want to make it to 35 years.”
Anyone interested in donating can do so at www.victorycenter.com or they can send their donation to P.O. Box 1694 Clinton, IA 52732.
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