RUPERT — A new humanitarian center in Rupert is set to open soon, hoping to be a place where people gather for community-service projects.

The Magic Valley Area Humanitarian Center spearheaded by Rupert residents Kathy Duncan, Becky Schow and Jennifer Lloyd.

Their nonprofit foundation has purchased the old Swensen’s grocery store, 723 F St., and will use volunteers to help renovate the building in the coming weeks.

“We are so excited and it’s going to be so neat,” Duncan said. “One of the best things about this is it brings people together for a good purpose.”

Duncan said all three women have taken part in humanitarian efforts in other parts of the world, and they decided to bring some of that goodwill home.

“We felt like we needed to help our community as well,” Duncan said. “There is a great need here too.”

The women are modeling their center on a similar one in Idaho Falls.

Lloyd said all groups will be welcomed at the center along with individual volunteers to work on the building renovations or upcoming projects, which will include quilt tying and assembling hygiene, school and newborn kits.

The center will also be a place that can help facilitate senior school and Eagle Scout projects along with other youth and company service projects.

School kits will include basic classroom necessities, and the groups will work with schools and teachers to identify students who will benefit from them.

“We will likely always be tying quilts and have quilt frames set up that will be donated to organizations for people in need,” Lloyd said. “It will give people a place to visit and be part of the community.”

The center will be open on Tuesdays and Thursdays and will open by appointment for groups or tours.

Lloyd said it has taken the group a year to form the foundation and establish its nonprofit status.

“The hope is to provide support to the community with much needed supplies but also give the volunteers a chance to serve their neighbors,” Lloyd said.

The foundation also plans to pursue grants and donations for the center. For more information or to donate, visit www.