Food bank renovation progressing on budget

Staff, clients and volunteers with the Dundas County Food Bank are all eager for the upcoming move of its Morrisburg location.

Last week, the renovation committee invited area media to check out progress of the renovation of the municipal space that will be the food bank’s new home.

It will be located below the Morrisburg arena in a portion of the former library space.

DCFB renovation committee volunteers Jim Millard and Brian Cox estimate that the renovation project is about one-third complete and that the move will be able to take place this spring, optimistically, April.

At this point, all the necessary approvals are in place, and the project contractors, Testerink Construction are on site.

The Municipality of South Dundas has offered an interest free loan of up to $46,200 to the DCFB to complete this project, and Millard said that the project, although it has undergone some minor changes, remains within budget.

He adds that municipal staff, namely manager of buildings and recreation Donnie Lewis, has been extremely helpful throughout.

The new food bank location is about 600 square feet larger than the old one, which will remain in use until project completion.

Millard and Cox, explain that a lot of thought has gone into the layout of the new food bank, which has been designed to specifically meet the food bank’s needs, unlike the former location.

Waiting rooms, offices, with appropriate sight lines and escape routes, storage spaces and work and kitchen areas should provide a much more efficient and functional space.

The volunteers who work at the food bank packing boxes are a social group who enjoy their time volunteering together for the cause, explained Millard, adding that the new space should be even more conducive to that community atmosphere.

The new layout provides more separation between the clients and the volunteers, explained Cox.

The layout will also mean less carrying of food items from one location of the building to another.

There’s plenty of room for the food bank’s five fridges/freezers, with room for additional coolers, if needed.  

Such a need could become a reality as the food bank strives to provide more healthy food items to its clients, especially the children. 

With the help of a recent successful funding application, school aged children are now receiving more healthy snacks, including fresh produce and yogurt. 

A loading door will be installed as soon as the weather permits, thus allowing the food bank to accommodate larger deliveries. 

“This is going to be a much nicer space, and a much cleaner space,” said Amy Jamieson, food and client coordinator at the Morrisburg location.

“Everyone deserves that,” said Millard.

“It will be a more efficient process all around, for clients and for volunteers,” added Cox.

“The clients really seem to want the food bank here,” said Jamieson, speculating that the increased accessibility is part of the reason. 

The new location will be fully accessible, complying with all of the provincial accessibility regulations.

Dundas County Food Bank has seen a 15 per cent increase in the number of people using its services, as compared to a year ago. That has required the food budget to be exceeded by about $12,000.

Millard points out that the funding for this renovation project, will not come from funds intended for food purchases. He asks that anyone interested in providing money specifically for the renovation project to contact the Dundas County Food Bank to arrange sponsorship.

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