Willow Tree Missions now owns the building that houses its resale shop after a formal closing Dec. 19 on the Monticello facility.
The 7,200-square-foot building was purchased for $30,000. The former owner offered it to Willow Tree because he is moving out of the country.
Sales from Willow Tree Resale Shop funds Neighbor House, a domestic violence service also operated by Willow Tree Missions.
"This is a big deal for us. It secures a place for our shop, and that is about 98 percent of our funding for our domestic violence shelter," said Willow Tree board member Suzanne Wells. She added that self-funded shelters are extremely rare in Illinois.
"The money for the purchase did not come from the shop," emphasized Connie Hendrix, another board member. "It came completely from donations."
Dollars came from entities including the City of Monticello, area townships and local churches; and fundraisers like car washes, snow cone sales and bake sales.
A benefactor "covered the gap" so the mission did not have to borrow or dip into its savings, Wells said.
"They were extremely fair with us," said board member Bill Blickhan concerning former owners Savitre and India Boodram.
A hectic fundraising effort began in July when the building was offered to Willow Tree. Officials knew they had enough funds to commit to the purchase in August, but had to wait for legal issues and permission from the railroad to take ownership.
The shop is located along a set of active railroad tracks.
Since there will no longer be rent payments, Wells said additional part-time help was hired for the resale shop.