With less than three weeks till Christmas, a charity that collects new toys for Middle Georgia children is in a bind.
Kids Yule Love’s digs in Byron at the Peachtree Center is in trouble, and the charity’s founder is seeking a temporary new home.
“In the last 60 days, we’ve been told that another company is coming in and renting half of our building,” said Joe Allen, the CEO of the nonprofit. “The worst time of the year for anything like this to occur is right at Christmas. ... We don’t know what we’re going to do.”
A discount store is moving in on Ga. 49, and the necessary renovations to that half of the building are messy. Rainwater is pooling on the floor, trickling down walls, where Sheetrock is missing in some places.
“The bottom line is this stuff is going to get dirty,” Allen said. “Now it’s an emergency to get the stuff out.”
The nonprofit has been allowed to use the building rent free for the past two years, paying only for water and electricity.
“I’ve always used something somebody else let me use,” said Allen, a former firefighter who started the nonprofit in 1986.
Now, as renovations have continued, the nonprofit’s half of the building has no running water and few lights.
Volunteers usually come help sort the gifts, but Allen said he won’t allow people into such an environment.
Between 2,500 and 3,000 kids are expected to receive gifts from the nonprofit this Christmas.
“They’re relying on Kids Yule Love, through the goodness and the mercy of other people,” Allen said. “I’m supposed to make sure this works, and I’m caught in a dilemma.”
He added, “I’m not asking for eternity. I’m asking long enough that I can get gifts to the children.”
Allen said the predicament has him “at wits’ end.”
“People have never let me down in the Middle Georgia area with Kids Yule Love,” he said. “Somebody will come through.”