POINT PLEASANT — A local pageant title holder organized a fundraiser to donate money to the Mason County Homeless Shelter right before the holiday season.
Ally Harper is the 2020 Cabell County Fair Queen, but is a resident of Point Pleasant.
Harper recently asked local businesses and individuals to donate to an online auction. There were 40 individuals or businesses who donated to the auction. Many of these were public officials, fellow pageant title holder and businesses in Point Pleasant.
Harper said people then bid on items or made monetary donations. She raised $2,200 for the county homeless shelter.
John Machir, director of the homeless shelter, said this money will go toward the picnic pavilion at the site of the new homeless shelter.
“She by herself raised just over half of the total for (the pavilion),” Machir said. “That was really incredible for us and with another donation received from the PVH Auxiliary yesterday and two other donations we’ve gotten from the Presbyterian Church and the Lifespring Church, it’s now fully funded.”
Machir said the picnic pavilion will serve a few duties at the new site. Due to state requirements, the shelter must have a smoking area, and Machir said the pavilion will serve as that space. But it will also be used for parents to watch children who are playing on the playground at the new shelter. Machir is hopeful that in the warmer months, the picnic pavilion can be used to host meals rather than eating in the dinning room inside the shelter.
“When they’ve been homeless for a long time, not very much is normal,” Machir said. “This kind of normalizes things that families would be doing if they were on their own in their own housing in the community.”
Machir said he recently started a Facebook page titled “Mason County WV Homeless Shelter” where he will post updates on the construction process. Machir had no updates to share about the new shelter, but said after the first of the year he should have more information on the process.
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Kayla (Hawthorne) Dunham is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing. Reach her at (304) 675-1333, ext. 1992.