Published on April 7th, 2011 in the EMC Perth
EMC News - At a time when the Perth and District Food Bank is moving forward with both a new location and an exciting new pilot project, the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) has stepped forward to help make the transition a little easier. Local MPP Randy Hillier announced on Friday, April 1 that a Trillium Grant of $140,000 has been awarded to the food bank to help with expenses associated with the move to their new location at 190 Gore St.
The OTF grant will not only help the food bank relocate to their new location but will also aid in retrofitting the facility with a commercial kitchen to be used for cooking and other learning opportunities. As part of a new pilot project for The Stop, the food bank will strive to become a "food hub" and will not only provide the standard food boxes but will also give opportunities to help users learn about food preparation and healthy food choices.
Of the $140,000 awarded to the food bank, $110,000 has been allocated for the renovations to the new building and to provide handicap access to the facility. An additional $30,000 will be used to build the community kitchen to be installed on the food bank's main floor.
"I think it's wonderful to see them not only purchasing the building but also providing a teaching kitchen for food preparation and healthy eating...I think it's marvelous and very unique," MPP Randy Hillier said. Hillier acknowledged the growing financial pressures families face as the cost of living in Ontario rises, forcing people to turn to their local food banks for assistance.
Food bank board Chair Ted Miller told OTF representative Bruce Duncan, it was a very exciting time for the food bank. "This is a turning point in community and evolution of the Food Bank," Miller said. "We will use your money well."
Miller said the food bank is now only a week away from obtaining a building permit for a 380 square foot addition to the back of the building where donations will be received and sorted. In addition, the Trillium grant will ensure the facility is barrier free so all community members can participate in its programs. Miller indicated they hope to be fully functional by late fall of 2011.
The Perth and District Food Bank was established in 1997 and serves 160 families each month, of which 40 per cent are children. The food bank's new location on Gore St. will feature gardens and offer workshops in addition to the standard food baskets.