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 “This gives us credibility that we will move forward with the shelter,’ ” he said.  “We have to have someone who says, ‘we believe in what you’re doing.’ ”

 The 120-bed men’s shelter would be part of a proposed new South Campus for Mary’s Mercy Center, located on nine acres off of Artesian Street about 1.5 miles from the existing facility. The four-phased project would also include a medical and education building, transitional housing, apartments, a community garden and community care facilities. The entire project is estimated to cost $12.2 million.

 Bank of America awarded the grant through its Neighborhood Builders Program that assists top-performing non-profits in the execution of their mission. Mary’s Mercy Center’s strong track record of serving those in need was a factor in its selection, but the idea that the grant would fund an expansion of services was also important, said Al Arguello, Inland Empire Market President for Bank of America.

 “Not only do they provide excellent work in the community, this significant contribution will allow them to take their organization to the next level in reaching a community that is underserved,” said Arguello.

 Mary’s Mercy Center will receive $100,000 annually for the next two years. In addition, Hein and Mary’s Mercy Center founder Father Michael Barry will receive leadership training that is offered through the grant.

 Fr. Barry founded Mary’s Mercy Center in 1987. Today, it distributes nearly 100,000 plates of food each year and 12,000 emergency food bags while also providing basic medical, transportation and infant care services. In the 1990s it was expanded it to include Veronica’s Home of Mercy and later Veronica’s Home of Mercy II to serve women and their young children attempting to escape drug abuse, domestic violence, homelessness or abortion.