Lifeline Family Center in Cape Coral is getting a big boost from a large donation by a non-profit organization based in Boca Grande and it's the result of a recent chance meeting.
Comrie Foundation has awarded Lifeline Family Center more than $126,000 to replace nine failing air conditioning units at their 18,000-square-foot facility.
"This is huge, a very nice surprise," said Lifeline president and executive director Kathy Miller. "There are no words to express our extreme gratitude to the Comries. We are so grateful that they came along and caught the vision of Lifeline Family Center and joined their hearts to ours."
Frenzel Air was chosen to swap out the air conditioning units that have been maintenance nightmares since the warranties expired, shortly after moving into the center eight years ago. The failing units are construction grade while the new units will be an upgrade to more cost efficient and cleaner running. It will take nine months to replace all nine units.
"When the Comries toured the facility they asked what we needed," said Miller. "You kind of hesitate not knowing if you should offer something that's $2,000 or $20,000. We just told them and they agreed to help us."
Lifeline receives no government funding. It has survived for 18 years through the generous donations within the community and a little aid from United Way.
The non-profit center provides housing and education for homeless pregnant young women and the children.
One of Lifeline's board members, Wanda Jones, struck up a conversation with Doug and Carolyn Comrie at the recent chance meeting while on vacation. One thing led to another and the Comrie's wanted to see the facility.
"They saw a correlation between babies in Southwest Florida living without air conditioning in July, August and September and babies in Ohio living without heat in December, January and February," said Miller. "They have committed to do something about it. They get it. They see the big picture."
Lifeline Family Center serves up to 12 young women, age 16-22, and up to 24 babies at any time. The young women have their baby and earn a GED certificate and career training for up to two years while living at the center.
"Our goal is to get them working for a minimum of $22,000 a year to sustain themselves when they are done," said Miller.