Quite a prize

The Rev. Benton Thompson stands in front of a house that will be given away in a drawing Dec. 19.

In the classic Christmas movie “Miracle on 34th Street,” a little girl named Susan who doesn’t believe in Santa nevertheless asks for a new house — and gets it.

This year someone will get a miracle on South Cherry Street as Mount Zion Economic Community Center will give away a newly renovated house in a drawing Dec. 19.

Six months ago the organization got a call from a man wanting to donate a house at 220 S. Cherry St., McComb, several blocks south of Pearl River Avenue in East McComb.

“I never met him. He called up anonymous from San Francisco,” said Dr. Benton Thompson. “He’d been watching what we’re doing in the community and wanted to help.”

Thompson is director of the center, pastor at the adjacent Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church east of Summit, as well as owner of Homes & Land Real Estate Co. The community center provides adult daycare and transportation.

The 2,200-square-foot, four-bedroom, two-bath house wasn’t in great shape but had possibility, with a wrap-around porch, bay windows, wooden floors, a spacious kitchen and 12-foot ceilings in some rooms.

The center hired Louis Crayton of Meadville to renovate it, and the result is stunning. Perched on a high corner, the house has been painted tan with a cherry-red brick foundation and is newly refurbished inside and out.

Since July 1 the center has been selling tickets for $25 each. The winner in the drawing will be the proud owner of the house.

The center has sold 1,000 tickets so far, and Thompson is hoping to sell 10,000. They’re available at Homes & Land, Nobles Cleaners, www.mtzionecommunitycenter.net, and the Mount Zion Economic Community Center Facebook page.

Mount Zion will use the proceeds to pay for the renovations, hopefully pay off its mortgage and make improvements to the center, located at 4027 Fred Martin Road, Summit.

“I’m hoping that someone that’s renting that doesn’t own a home, with kids — it would make a nice Christmas present,” Thompson said.

On the other hand, someone who doesn’t need it for themselves might win it and, in the spirit of Christmas, give it to someone who does, he said.

Sort of like Kris Kringle did with Susan.

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