Nelson residents can expect a copy of this brochure in their mailbox Saturday. Pastor Jim Reimer says although the deadline on their offer to buy the old Savoy Hotel has passed

Nelson residents can expect a copy of this brochure in their mailbox Saturday. Pastor Jim Reimer says although the deadline on their offer to buy the old Savoy Hotel has passed

Square Foot to Freedom still alive

Kootenay Christian Fellowship will blitz the city Saturday with a handout on the Square Foot to Freedom campaign. Pastor Jim Reimer says they’ll leave brochures in mailboxes throughout town on their dream of transforming the old Savoy Hotel into low cost housing.

Kootenay Christian Fellowship will blitz the city Saturday with a handout on the Square Foot to Freedom campaign. Pastor Jim Reimer says they’ll leave brochures in mailboxes throughout town on their dream of transforming the old Savoy Hotel into low cost housing.

So far they’ve raised $65,000, but it will take much more — around $1 million — to buy the vacant building.

“We’re still working on it,” Reimer says. “We’re still getting donations from all over — as far away as Ontario.”

Donations can be made through the website sqft2freedom.com. A contribution of $100 buys a square foot of the building.

Reimer says they continue to raise money despite the fact the deadline on their offer has come and gone and the seller was unwilling to extend it.

He says they still hope to come up with the funds before someone else buys it.

While some people are concerned about giving money to a church, he emphasizes that as a registered charity, all the money must be used for its intended purpose — buying the building. And they can’t flip it for a profit afterward.

“Any money given to this project will not be used for any other purpose,” Reimer says. “If this project stalls and somebody else buys the building, we will give people the option of either having the money returned to them or we will keep it in a separate account for the purpose of buying something to provide low-cost housing.”

He adds they’re also still working with BC Housing, whose staff are expected to visit Nelson again soon.

The project would create 17 low-cost rental units, and the building would also become the new home of the Our Daily Bread hot lunch program.

• A local campaign to send shoeboxes full of toys and treats for children left homeless by the Slave Lake wildfires was a success, Reimer says.

Between 300 and 400 shoeboxes were collected, and shipped to Alberta Wednesday.

“The Athabasca churches as a whole are going to receive them and distribute them to the families,” he says. “We wanted to give toys and things that make a kid smile.”

However, he says there are warehouses full of furniture, and burned-out residents don’t need any clothes or household goods. “It’s gracious and kind, but how many toasters do people need?”