New Food Bank location now officially open
by Sandy Lindsay

March 5, 2017


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The Mayor cuts the ribbon to officially open the Food Bank's new location
(L-R) Volunteer Bill Cunningham, Pastor Donna Kennedy, Major David Kennedy, Mayor Mike Smith, Volunteers Diane Thorne, Pat Virtue and Jackie Beale

Out of the basement and into the light ... the Port Elgin Food Bank has made a major move.

It is not only a move of location, as it re-locates into its new home, but it is also a complete shift in concept.

Salvation Major Pastor Donna Kennedy

The Food Bank has moved into the recently renovated former Baptist Church located on Bricker Street in Port Elgin from its long-time home in Maple Square Mall.

The new location is bright with large windows that allows sunlight in and rooms painted in soft neutral and calming shades that have been designed for multi-usage.

The new location held its official opening on Thursday, March 2nd, and many community groups and individuals took the opportunity to tour the new facility.

Volunteer Diane Thorne answers calls in the reception greeting area

Clients will be met in a cheery reception area and then can be interviewed in a private space by Pastor Donna Kennedy.

No longer will food be 'doled' out in baskets, instead, clients will have a shopping experience and the dignity of choosing their own foods acknowledging that not everyone likes the same things when it comes to eating.

Volunteers Joan Cunninham and Bonnie Little in the 'shopping' area
In addition, new freezers mean more selection when it come to frozen meats and veggies but there are items that are more needed than others.

From babies and tots to adults and seniors, there are shelves of food and items for hygiene.  According to Salvation Army Major David Kennedy, "This new location will afford clients the dignity and hope that they deserve when it comes to choice."

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While ensuring nutritious food availability is the main priority of the Food Bank, it is also taking a new turn on the road to helping people.

There is a new seminar room where programs such as income tax preparation, life skills and budgeting will be offered.

Jackie Beale greeted visitors in the Seminar room

"As a volunteer for many years in Stratford," said volunteer Jackie Beale, "I conducted programs in life skills such as how to apply for a job, how to complete a resume and others that helped clients such as young mothers get into the work force, so we are excited about offering that possibility here."

There is also a new completely outfitted bright kitchen where it is hoped that 'cooking classes' will soon begin.

Volunteer Audrey Perrott shows the amenities in the new kitchen include new dishes

"It's not just a matter of choosing foods from the 'shopping' area," said volunteer Audrey Perrott, "it's also about learning how to prepare them in different ways, so we hope clients will take advantage of this new kitchen when cooking classes start."

Volunteer Pat Virtue is thrilled with the new storage and sorting area

Mayor Mike Smith (R) congratulates Pastor Donna Kennedy and husband, David

"This is a wonderful use for this building," said Mayor Mike Smith, "and it's going to be really good for the community and for Food Bank clients.  It's a grand building and they've done a terrific job in renovating it."

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Saturday, March 04, 2017