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Gainesville non-profit struggling to stay open

DIGNITY PROJECT

A local non profit is afraid it may have to close its doors.

The Dignity Project Second Generation has been running solely on donations for nearly a decade.

For the director, Kim Lapan the Dignity Project has become a labor of love.

“I came here for two weeks to just help out and fell in love with it so much that I’ve been here since 1999," Lapan said.

Lapan doesn't get paid, but each day he drives nearly 50 miles from Lake City to work at Dignity, a non profit that offers a helping hand to struggling single mothers.

“We’re part of the original Dignity Project which most of the community knows for giving cars to single moms and families.”

The original Dignity Project used to offer low cost vehicles to single mothers who needed transportation, but after a loss of funding it became a struggle to keep the doors open.

“Through the years as the donations fell off and problems arose with finances it went under in 2010," Lapan said.

Now the organization has been revived as the Dignity Project Second Generation. In addition to helping single mothers, Dignity donates computers to veterans and offers job training for at risk youth.

However Lapan says it costs $3,000 a month just to keep the doors open and without donations its becoming harder every day.

For single mothers like Henrietta Worthy its a resource they don't want to see the community lose.

" Its really important to me because this is the only resource of its kind on the East side," Worthy said.

Dignity helped Worthy get a laptop for her children and that experience left a lasting positive impact on her life.

" It made me feel like there is a still a good side of Gainesville and there are still good people that care and want to make this town a good place," Worthy said.

Lapan says its because of the community that he wants to keep his doors open.

" It would hurt to see how the community would lose so much from us going under."

Lapan says he lives in Lake City, but his heart is here in Gainesville and that's where he wants the Dignity Project to stay.

If you would to donate you can contact the Dignity Project at 352-371-6792. You can also donate to their Go fund me page.


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