CMONA Groundbreaking

Participating in the groundbreaking ceremony for the future CMONA facility are, from left, Dr. Randy Cooper, Gary Bunker, Elizabeth Merritt, Bill Swift and Nita Swift. 

At the start of CMONA Day in North Augusta, Community Ministry of North Augusta broke ground at the location of their future home on Belvedere Clearwater Road.

“Today we take a giant step forward to substantially enhance our ability to better serve our neighbors in North Augusta and the Augusta area,” said Bill Swift, CMONA board president and co-chair of the Forward in Faith campaign.

Along with the groundbreaking, CMONA held a fundraiser at Sno-Cap Drive-In, raising additional funds for the campaign.

A handful of community leaders spoke during the groundbreaking.

“This groundbreaking reflects a commitment to our hurting and most at-risk neighbors,” said Terra Carroll, president and CEO of the North Augusta Chamber of Commerce, “It reflects the heart and soul of the people of North Augusta; it reflects the values of a great city.”

“Over the next several months as construction begins, you will see this unused, vacant lot and plot of ground turned into a center of restoration and renewal, a beacon of hope for all those needing a helping hand, a place where lives can begin again,” she said.

CMONA is made up of 22 area churches and helps those who are homeless or in need of help. They also have a food pantry and thrift store.

Gary Bunker, chairman of the Aiken County Council, spoke about growth during the event, adding “Growth does bring with it some challenges along with opportunities to make a difference. As part of the Augusta metropolitan area, North Augusta – just like the cities of Aiken and Augusta – has families that are experiencing poverty, homelessness and other social ills and when it comes to getting help. Rivers, state lines and other political boundaries are not impervious barriers, preventing the crossover of social needs, nor are they barriers to the provisions of much needed services.”

Lindsey Hodges is a general assignment reporter at the Aiken Standard and North Augusta Star. Follow her on Twitter at @LindseyNHodges.