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East Cleveland charity that helps the needy is in danger of closing its doors

Posted at 6:47 AM, Jan 11, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-11 08:13:46-05

For years they have become a source for those that need assistance, but now an East Cleveland organization says they are in need of help.

Oppressed People's Nation center organizers say if they don't raise the funds needed to pay off their debts, they'll have to close by the end of January.

Off Euclid Avenue near Taylor Road lies an organization rooted in nostalgia and driven by hope.

"I have a vision and a dream to get it back not only like it used to be but better, because I know what it can be," said OPN co-founder and city councilman Ernest Smith.

For the last 5 years, OPN has been serving the East Cleveland community.

"We've stopped robberies just by feeding people, we've clothed and fed a lot of people," said Smith.

Smith says the building also provides a warm shelter to people escaping the bitter cold.

"We call it the safe spot, 24-hours a day whenever they need to come in. We have the food racks right here," said Smith.

That was until the electricity was cut last week. However, Smith says the center's future started looking dark long before that.

“This building has become a staple in the community, to have this staple clipped would be disheartening," said Smith

With donations running low the organization fell behind on its bills. But they still upheld their commitments during the holidays.

"Even the donations on the Christmas toys this year were low. So we had to come out of our pocket. We actually spent the bill money on the Christmas toys" said Smith

Smith says he hopes things turn around and their focus can go back on the people they serve. He says they need at least a thousand to turn the lights back on and at least 600-hundred to stay in the building.

They set up a GoFundMe page to help raise funds.