To Dennis Gorton, one of the most impressive things about the new building for Parker's Southeast Community Outreach Cares (SECORCares or SECOR) is the design of its free food market. “There aren't …
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To Dennis Gorton, one of the most impressive things about the new building for Parker's Southeast Community Outreach Cares (SECORCares or SECOR) is the design of its free food market.
“There aren't any rows” said Gorton, CEO of SECOR, gesturing with his arms to illustrate the U-shaped route of the market. “The guests love it because it feels spacious and they can look and they don't feel like they're being hurried, but they're moving faster than they were before.”
The shape of the food market was designed for efficiency, and it'll be necessary with the record-breaking crowds Gorton has already seen and expects more of as SECOR grows into its new offices at 17151 Pine Lane, across from its old place.
The new SECOR facility is owned by the Solomon Foundation, a Christian philanthropy investment group worth $600 million, and triples SECOR's square footage at the same lease rate it paid at its old place — 15% of its market value.
SECOR outgrew its old place, also owned by the Solomon Foundation, of 8,500 square feet, within its first year there, Gorton said. In 2017, the foundation decided to build a new space for SECOR. Gorton only said he needed about a 15,000 square-foot space. Solomon gave them 23,557.
Doug Cozier, CEO of the Solomon Foundation, said it was a dream of his to provide a space for ministries and nonprofits, as well as the foundation's offices, under one roof. Cozier met with Gorton, who illustrated SECOR's need for a bigger space, and he was moved.
"I thought 'I think this is god telling me there’s a huge need in this community. We just need a bigger space,'" Cozier said.
SECOR opened its doors to the food market at its new offices Oct. 31. Immediately, Gorton said, SECOR served a record-breaking crowd. Gorton said on Nov. 7 SECOR's food market served 77 families in six hours, most of them spending half as much time as in SECOR's old building.
“We would have had to stop at 60 and tell the others 'no' if we had been in the other building,” Gorton said. “We expect that number will probably go up to 100 on Wednesday and Saturdays” — SECOR's busiest days.
The new Solomon Centre building welcomed SECOR along with Parker Secret Closet and Lifeline Christian Mission. There is space for a fourth nonprofit to move into the building. The building, across from the original Solomon Centre, has become Parker's nonprofit hub. Gorton said he hopes it can allow SECOR to continue to serve the entire South Metro area.
“We will serve agencies all over the South Metro area,” Gorton said. “So we're very excited about that.”
SECOR's mission is to provide food, personal items and monetary and budgeting assistance to families in need. There are some renovations still to be made to the new place. The warehouse will eventually have massive storage racks to store items for SECOR and all tenants of the new building. The phone lines aren't all hooked up yet and the staff and volunteers are still wrapping their heads around serving larger and larger crowds than SECOR has ever seen. But it's a problem the team doesn't mind having at the moment.
“It's a huge milestone in Parker,” Gorton said. “We are setting a pace for this city by saying 'Hey, we don't have to be a little city anymore.' We can be a place that is significant and making an impact on the whole metro area.”
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