The Hope Center

The HOPE Center is opening in downtown Live Oak and is promised to be a community resource.

LIVE OAK — Pledging to be a community resource, the HOPE Center and Mile High Bistro will be opening in style this weekend.

Located in the old B Posh building on the corner of Howard Street and Ohio Avenue, the HOPE Center will host a soft grand opening Friday with the Heartbeat Valentine’s Gala before sponsoring a Family Fun Day in Millennium Park on Sunday.

The Friday night event, which includes a VIP hour from 5:30-6:30 p.m. before the main event runs from 6:30-10 p.m., will include entertainment, music and food. 

On Sunday, the fun moves to Millennium Park in downtown Live Oak and will include more music and free food as well as vendors and a kid’s workshop from Home Depot. The Fun Day event lasts from 2-5 p.m. and follows a dedication service in the park for the HOPE Center at noon.

Elizabeth McLaughlin, a spokesperson for the HOPE Center said it looks to serve the community in multiple ways with Hedges & Highway Outreach Ministries, Inc., the non-profit that is running the center, being well-established with its ministry in Denver, Atlanta, Birmingham and South Africa before setting down roots here in North Florida.

“It will just be an open resource, almost like a campus with classes for the community,” McLaughlin said, adding that in addition to the Mile High Bistro located in the center, it will also be available for nutrition meetings through the UF/IFAS Suwannee County Extension Office as well as Shands Live Oak Regional Medical Center holding events there as well.

“The HOPE Center has all different types of programs to basically, if we our going to support children which is one of our main pillars that we want to do, we believe in supporting the whole family. So we will have resources for food and resources for education.”

Based from the center, McLaughlin said it will reach out into different parts of the community — not just Suwannee but also into Hamilton, Columbia, Gilchrist, Dixie, Levy, Duval and Alachua counties as well — to hold different events, whether it’s a food bank or a teen clinic or nutrition training. Those events will be held at sponsoring businesses.

North Florida Pediatrics is sponsoring the HOPE Center as a whole.

“We’ll be serving the community in multiple ways,” McLaughlin said.

Jamie Wachter is the editor of the Suwannee Democrat, Jasper News and Mayo Free Press.

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