Interfaith Outreach and Community Partners has a large new building, moving from its Wayzata site of the past 32 years.
A food shelf, a resale shop, Hennepin County social services offices and community education classrooms all have space in the new building the Interfaith Outreach and Community Partners (IOCP) now owns and occupies in Plymouth.
After raising $5.5 million in 2010 to buy and renovate the supermarket building at 1605 Hwy. 101 N., the nonprofit organization moved there in early August. It will host a public grand opening from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday offering tours of the building, music, activities and refreshments.
The 40,000-square-foot center has space for a separate wing of county social service offices, some Wayzata Community Education classrooms and two classrooms used by a preschool program.
The additional space is a dramatic expansion from the 6,000 square feet IOCP occupied in Wayzata for 32 years.
The services grouped in the building allow families to do a kind of one-stop shopping for the help they may need, said LaDonna Hoy, IOCP executive director. "We see a lot, a lot, a lot of people living on the edge," she said. "Our approach to the family is holistic.
"Our new space and the exciting level of community engagement it makes possible will enable us to help more families move toward long-term stability and full participation in the life and opportunities of our community," she said.
Formed in 1979 by 24 church congregations, the IOCP serves needy families from the communities of Hamel, Long Lake, Medicine Lake, Medina, Minnetonka Beach, Orono, Wayzata and Plymouth.
Hearing about the center through word of mouth, families come for help when they are facing a crisis of some kind -- a lost job, a broken-down car, the possibility of eviction from their homes or a lack of money to pay bills and eat.
More than two-thirds of the families seeking help at the center come in because the adults have lost their jobs or are underemployed.
The IOCP places a special emphasis on housing because it's very hard for people to look for a job or take care of their families without a stable place to live, Hoy said. In many cases "we provide rent subsidy while they upgrade their employment."
With a staff of 27, plus more than 1,200 volunteers, the organization helps 1,500 families a year. During 2010 its employment program helped 88 people find work.
The new building has a 12-station computer lab where job seekers can look for job openings and get training in computer skills.
The resale shop and food shelf will be run entirely by volunteers. The shop accepts donations of used clothing and household goods.
For more information see www.iocp.org.
Laurie Blake • 612-673-1711