Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Mission's Vision Clearer Clara White Celebrates New Digs

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Mission's Vision Clearer Clara White Celebrates New Digs

Article excerpt

Byline: John Carter, Staff writer

Ju'Coby Pittman told the 200 or so folks gathered at Ashley and Broad streets last week that she wants to help create a reliable labor source that plays a role in the revitalization of LaVilla and the rest of downtown.

Pittman said she was "excited, grateful and highly optimistic" as she spoke at the groundbreaking of a $2.1 million facility at the Clara White Mission she directs. It was sunny and unseasonably warm as Pittman spoke to dozens of community leaders and dignitaries the morning of April 23.

As Pittman spoke, more than 100 people formed an L-shaped line around the block as they waited in the mission's food line, a reminder that the mission has served hot meals daily and provided clothing to those in need since 1904. Pittman said last year the mission served more than 90,000 meals to the homeless and disadvantaged families.

In addition to allowing the mission to feed more folks, Pittman said, the new facility will allow her staff to focus on training clients for the escalating culinary and hospitality industry jobs in and around downtown.

"With the economic growth downtown and revival of LaVilla, we're eager to partner with those involved with the hospitality industry," Pittman said. She said the mission will continue to target veterans and ex-offenders.

Pittman thanked the state, city and corporate partners helping her "expand a dream."

"It's one thing to have a vision," she said. "But it's another thing to have the money to make that vision real. That's why we're so thankful for those who will not only help us build this facility, but those who are committed to continuing their support day after day."

The Rev. Robert V. Lee III, chairman of FreshMinistries, a group committed to supporting and reviving the core city, said expansion of the Clara White Center is a positive and logical step. …

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