Prominent SWFL charity in danger of closing
By Colleen Hogan. CREATED Jun 2, 2012
FORT MYERS - Rev. Dr. Israel Suarez is the face of Nations Association, one of the biggest charities in southwest Florida, but in a sad twist of fate, he's the one who now needs help to keep his charity open.
For almost 35 years, Suarez has helped tens of thousands of needy families in southwest Florida.
"I've been so happy the way the community responds to the Nations Association," Suarez said.
The charity hosts huge community meals at Thanksgiving and Christmas but volunteers work every day to make sure deserving families have what they need to get by.
Through the charity, kids get scholorships to school and go to camp. Much of the operating money for the charity, comes from a Nations family thrift store on Palm Beach Boulevard in Fort Myers.
"I need this property," he said.
But now the Nations thrift store is in danger of having to shut the doors.
Suarez says the building's owner can get more rent money from a different tenant. So Suarez wants to buy the building. He says it's going to cost him $300,000 for a down-payment.
"We need people that can help us," he said.
Suarez says he has one month to scrape together the cash.
"I'm not afraid to tell people, I need some help," he said.
Tables, furniture and mattresses are just a few of the things you'll find under the store's massive roof. Suarez says moving really isn't feasible. Instead, he's done the math, to see what it would take to stay in this building forever.
"If 1000 people donate $300, that $300,000 right there," he said.
Even if you can't pony up $300, Suarez says every penny helps and your donations are tax-deductible.