Now, the west Tupelo hospice house can dig into a $1.2 million expansion, adding eight additional rooms for the terminally ill.
"In less than nine months, we've raised $1 million," said Sanctuary administrator Linda Gholston at Monday's groundbreaking ceremony. "We couldn't have today without the good people of Northeast Mississippi."
Through the summer, Sanctuary had raised hundreds of thousands for the project. October's Celebration Village holiday market added $151,000 to the construction effort. The Sanctuary Village Shoppe has contributed about $275,000 to the effort through sales of donated items.
But individual donations have poured in to aid the effort, Gholston said. The hospice house still needs to raise about $200,000 to cover the project.
"God has blessed this place in unbelievable ways," said Lisa Hawkins, Sanctuary board chairwoman.
The groundbreaking ceremony was six years to the day that Sanctuary accepted its first patient; since then the 16-bed house has served nearly 1,600 patients and their families.
The expansion is prompted by the demand from area families for assistance in helping terminally ill patients die in dignity and comfort. Sanctuary had to turn away 354 families in 2010 because there weren't beds available.
Preliminary dirt work has been done on the expansion, and 18 extra parking spaces have been added to the campus.
The next step is the kitchen renovation, which is due to begin after the holidays and be complete in early spring. Construction on the addition is slated to finish in early fall.