Some nonprofits are struggling to survive. CrossNet Ministries, however, struggles for space.

Since its start as a youth center almost 35 years ago, the New Holland Christian organization has grown to become a major social services source for Eastern Lancaster County.

“Our biggest need for the past few years has been the need for more space,” Executive Director Meredith Dahl says.

Having maximized its space, the organization searched for options to expand the facilities to meet the growing needs of the ELANCO community. The hope was to remain on Franklin Street.

Dahl says prayers were answered when owners agreed to sell a warehouse on Franklin Street, where CrossNet already rents space for its youth center. The agreement was signed March 28 and a capital campaign began the next day for the $3 million expansion project — $1.5 million to buy the property and another $1.5 million to renovate.

Dahl says CrossNet has applied for funding from an unnamed foundation that is offering a $1.5 million match. But the nonprofit will receive those funds only if it raises the initial $1.5 million by year’s end.

While Dahl declined to name the foundation, she described it in a letter to supporters as “a local foundation that aligns with our goals and mission.”

Around the same time of the foundation’s offer, anonymous donors contributed $500,000.

That left CrossNet still needing to raise $1 million. To date, the nonprofit has raised $725,442 of that final $1 million.

CrossNet currently owns a two-story house at 123 W. Franklin St., which it uses as offices; its Food Pantry at 127 W. Franklin St.; and a youth center at 110 W. Franklin St.

The warehouse will provide 30,700 square feet to provide a central location for resources and support. It will expand the youth center space to offer programs for children from birth through high school; create space for preschool-age programming; provide offices for staff and other organizations who provide services such as counseling, a pregnancy center and other efforts; increase the food pantry into a market for participants to give a dignified shopping experience while adding space for more food storage; and add a donation drop-off center for food, clothing and furniture donations.

CrossNet’s current offices and food pantry will be renovated for additional housing programs, as well as a winter shelter and crisis shelter available for families experiencing homelessness.

Dahl says renovations would start in January 2023 with move-in estimated 12 months later.

She admits more space won’t solve all the problems in the community. But the organization still wants to make a tangible difference.

“We will continue to seek lives changed by Jesus and to offer help and hope in the form of food, relationships, housing and resources,” Dahl says.

In January 2017, CrossNet Ministries merged with ELANCO Social Services Network. The merger grew the organization, programs and availability of resources. Today there are 14 staff members and 402 volunteers.

Pathways to Housing, in partnership with churches and the community, was developed to house the homeless. CrossNet owns an eight-apartment building with three additional ones donated by local churches.

In 2021, two new partnerships joined the organization, which includes a home repair ministry with Servants Inc. and Success Coach in affiliation with nine county employers.

CrossNet’s mission is to offer help and hope in the name of Jesus Christ by empowering people in Eastern Lancaster County. Its goal is to collaborate to create a stronger, thriving community. Along with the youth center and food pantry, CrossNet offers mentors, tutoring, after-school programs for elementary school children, transportation ministry, housing programs, case management, a free summer lunch program, weekend meal solutions, opportunities to build life skills, money management workshops and more. Programs focus on building relationships and building resources for sustainability.

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