Springfield Rescue Mission cheers $25,000 donation from Walmart

Source: MassLive.com / Dan Glaun

The Springfield Rescue Mission accepted a $25,000 donation from Walmart to fund its emergency service programs at a ceremony Friday.

“We are thrilled to provide the Springfield Rescue Mission with a $25,000 check and very happy to support the organization,” Walmart’s New England Director of Communications Chris Buchanan said.

The contribution will fund the rescue center’s clothing giveaway center, Operation Sunshine homelessness program and emergency shelter on Taylor Street, Springfield Rescue Mission Chairman Robert Blakeslee said. Blakeslee and Mayor Domenic Sarno thanked Walmart for the donation and posed for photographs with the oversized check at the press conference.

The mission has operated for 124 years  typically spends about $2.3 million each year, in addition to receiving about $2 million worth of in-kind donations like clothing, shoes and toiletries.

The donation will go exclusively to services, and not toward funding the unexpected tax bill that led the mission to take out a six-figure loan earlier this year, according to Blakeslee.

The tax-exempt nonprofit, which provides services for the poor and homeless, was hit with a one-time tax bill after acquiring its new headquarters on Mill Street last year.

Because the building was on the tax rolls last year before the Rescue Mission took possession of it the organization became responsible for a $150,000 share of its tax bill — an amount which surprised the operators of the charity after they closed on the property in October.

In April, the rescue mission paid off the bill, using a loan from Berkshire Bank. The charity had appealed for donors to help cover the unexpected costs, and donors responded with $110,000 in contributions, The Republican reported today.

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