By Charles Petty

Outreach Mission Inc., which currently operates men’s and women’s shelters for people experiencing homelessness in Sanford, was the recipient of a boost from the Truist Foundation on Tuesday.

The foundation presented a check of $35,000 for the purposes of funding the construction of OMI’s new Samuel J. Wornom Community Shelter in Sanford. On hand to receive the check were OMI President Hamer Carter and Vice President Laura Spivey. The check was presented by Jimmy Keen, the Market President for Truist’s Lee and Chatham County markets.

OMI was founded in 1988 as a faith-based nonprofit to provide a helping hand to those facing homelessness. OMI helps to operate shelters in Lee County for those needing a roof over their head, medical and mental health treatment, job training and recruitment, and housing search assistance. The new shelter, which received a $900,000 grant from the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency in July as well as additional funding from Sanford and Lee County in March, will be located at 507 S. 3rd St.

The Truist Foundation is an arm of the Truist bank which prioritizes philanthropic efforts in the community. The foundation was established in 2020 to make strategic investments in nonprofit organizations to help ensure the communities the foundation serves have better and more widely avabialbe opportunities for a better quality of life. The foundation grants and activities have an emphasis on building career pathways and helping economic mobility as well as strengthening small businesses.

“One of the benefits of being with Truist is to participate with our community and the foundation allows us to do it in a bigger way,” Keen said.

The shelter will be the first co-ed shelter in Sanford, with spaces for both men and women. It will have 76 beds and space for families to be able to stay together. The shelter will also house common areas to collaborate with other S3-Housing Connect agencies to provide services to those experiencing homeliness in the Lee County community. The shelter is a space for those needing to find avenues by which to acquire housing.

“This is an amazing opportunity for us to be able to move forward with the building of the Samuel J. Wornom Community Shelter. The $35,000 will certainly help us get there,” Spivey said.

Carter was also glad to have funds to be able to move forward with the construction of the shelter.

“The biggest thing this check indicates to me and OMI is the community’s support and involvement,” he said. “A project this big cannot be successful if you don’t have community involvement.”

For more information about OMI, call (919) 776-8474 or email