RIVER FALLS — An unexpected tax bill has a church asking the community for help with its latest sober house.

Servant of the Shepherd purchased the property in March 2020 under the belief it was tax exempt, but recently discovered the exempt status doesn’t kick in until 2021 — leaving the church on the hook for $7,000 by the end of January.

A GoFundMe organized by Emily McDougall was recently set up to help raise funds. As of noon Wednesday, Dec. 23, the campaign surpassed $1,200 from 12 donors.

Pastor Brody Athey said he knows first-hand the good that Servant of Shepherd’s sober houses provide. The one-time heroin addict said the church saved his life three years ago.

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“My story is not unique to this ministry,” Athey wrote in an email to the Star-Observer. “We are there to provide support for those recovering from addiction, alcoholism and spiritual abuse.”

The church operates five sober houses, offering food, financial resources, housing, employment and transportation support as well as AA meetings, two worship services and Bible studies.

Find more information about the church at www.servantoftheshepherd.com.