The renovation of the new Kimberley Helping Hands Food Bank building continues, and while the moving date has been pushed back a bit, good progress has been made.
Work has been underway for several months at the former EquiCare Mechanical Services building across from the City works yard, taking the building down to a shell and then building it back up again for offices, food storage space and public areas.
Advantages to the move include a much bigger building, and a much bigger parking area than the current Food Bank at the Anglican Church basement.
There are plenty of plans for the piece of land, including a future produce garden and solar panels to power the whole operation. The Food Bank is working with the Columbia Basin Trust on the possibility of a grant for the solar.
The building itself is 2000 square feet on the main floor and a few hundred more on an upper level.
The renovation is running under the capable hands of three men, Food Bank Manager Thom Tarte and two extraordinarily hard-working volunteers, Barry Cummins and Dexter McArthur. Those three are on site every day, along with various contractors, not just overseeing the work, but physically doing it.
Cummns is pleased with how things are coming along. He says the electric rough ins are about to be inspected and the water lines will be installed this week, then insulation. Hopefully the drywallers will be in early in September, then it’s painting.
“Everyone has been working hard to accomplish as much as possible,” Cummins said.
It is now looking like the move could happen by the end of October.
“Finishing touches can be done after we move in,” Tarte said. “Barry and Dexter are the real workhorses. They are both putting in a lot of work hours to make it happen. We’re a little behind but making good progress.”
Cummins said the new owners of the Anglican Church, the site of the current Food Bank, are being extremely accommodating.
“The new owner is very cooperative with us staying till we are ready to move. They said it’s our time line.”
The type of help has been a hallmark of the entire project as local contractors and suppliers have been discounting services and supplies, and donating services. And even with all the supply line problems all projects are running into, Cummins says when they contractors find out the work is for the food bank, they bend over backwards to make sure they get what they need.
However, prices are rising as well.
The Food Bank had enough funds from a Columbia Basin Trust grant to purchase the building, and other grants are assisting with the remodel.
“With the rising cost of everything, we have no problem spending the money we have,” Cummins said. “We may have to make changes to what we thought we need to do.”
“We are applying for new grants as we go along,” Tarte said. “We are definitely looking for grants for equipment, solar panels and more.
“We will do what we need to do to get moved. But the more funding we get the better. Either way we will open.”
“We have enough to do what we need to get done,” Cummins added.
Meanwhile the work of the Food Bank goes on.
Tarte says it is as busy as it always is but there hasn’t been a particular jump in need.
“We are always receiving donations from the public and can always use more,” he said. “We are always looking for new volunteers too. Anyone who has a few hours a week to help out.”
He says they have lost a few very long term volunteers in recent months and it would be nice to get some new people.
“It would be nice with the new land and the vision going forward to have some new volunteers come forward, maybe be on the board,” Cummins said.