A congregation in Riverview has raised more than $600,000 for church repairs in less than two months by going door-to-door.
The Immaculate Heart of Mary congregation plans to raise $1 million and has no doubts it will reach its goal by the end of February, said fundraising co-chair Debbie Brine.
About 35 volunteers have been canvassing friends, neighbours and businesses since the fundraiser was launched on Oct. 9. But they aren't mailing letters or calling on the phone, they're visiting, she said.
"They've learned how to make the perfect cup of tea, they've visited people who had children they didn't realize were already grown and so for many of them, it's been a wonderful experience to meet their neighbours again," said Brine. "It's all face to face."
Co-chair Al Kavanaugh says the campaign is all about strengthening and serving the community. Once the 20-year-old Roman Catholic church's leaky roof is fixed and the windows and siding are replaced, they can move on, he said.
"We're going to get this monkey off our back and then we're going to be able to spend a fair amount of the weekly contributions to the pastoral things and the people in the church — that's the reason we are there."
Immaculate Heart, the biggest church in the Riverview area, has 1,200 members.
Unlike many other congregations, the church's attendance is not shrinking, Kavanaugh has said. One Sunday in October, the 700-seat church was overflowing with parishioners, he had said.
The people who designed and built the church in 1992 have gone out of business, so they cannot be sued, officials have said.