The Muncie Mission is happy to put the days of the 4th of July fire that destroyed their building behind them and to move forward with the goal of helping those in need.
The Mission reopened in September and is now preparing for their annual Walk-A-Mile in Their Shoes in February.
Don Ford, director of development for Muncie Mission, said either a stray cigarette or a stray firework got into the mulch near the building, smoldered, then melted a natural gas line fueling the fire.
He said it caused $2 million dollars worth of damages to the nearly brand new building. However, most of the damage was done by smoke and water so the entire building had to be completely gutted.
Ford, who has been with the Mission for more than seven years, said the number of residents is lower than normal for this time of year than it has been in the past.
He attributes the low numbers to people being unaware that the Mission is taking new residents again.
Mark Garringer, the evening supervisor at the Mission, said that during the rebuild, the beds were set up in the The Attic Window, the consignment store owned by the Mission, in order to house those residents who had no place else to go.
Churches, charities and sororities brought in meals for the residents until the kitchen could be completed. Garringer said he was amazed by the amount of help the Mission received from organizations within the community.
The Mission is dedicated to helping people get back on their feet and George Jones, a Mission resident, said it is doing just that for him.
Jones said the Mission the best rehab program he's ever seen because of its spiritual foundation.
"They are people who help you find something inside to look forward to," he said.
Jones said while the fire and relocation was difficult for the residents, it also brought them closer together. Many of the residents lost everything they owned including electronics, clothing, paperwork and irreplaceable sentimental items.
Fortunately, insurance has covered the cost of the rebuild, but the fire also resulted in the loss of thousands of dollars worth of food.
Ford said all of the boxed food and much of the canned food was ruined and the Mission has been looking to the community for non-perishable food items.
While the Mission is always accepting donations of money, non-perishable food and time, it is currently ramping up for the 7th annual "Walk-a-Mile in my Shoes." The fundraising event is Feb. 12 in downtown Muncie and is a non-competitive walk.
For more information regarding The Muncie Mission, the upcoming walk or to find other opportunities to help, visit: www.munciemission.org