A long-held dream to make Sources White Rock South Surrey Food Bank a more accessible, one-stop-shop wellness centre is coming to fruition, and officials at the non-profit organization say they couldn’t be more thrilled.
“This is a vision we’ve had for a long, long time,” Denise Darrell, Sources’ executive director, said Thursday (Feb. 23), of plans to co-locate seniors’ and volunteer services at the 2343 156 St. facility, and put top-floor services within reach of those who have mobility challenges.
“We purchased that property years ago… because we wanted to have stability for our food bank. It also gives us the opportunity to create space the way we’d like to have it. We’ve always seen it as not just a food bank.”
The co-location makes sense, Darrell continued, “because most of our programs that are operated by volunteer services serve the clients that we serve also at the food bank or with our Seniors Hub.”
The space freed up at Sources’ Maple Street location will be used to expand counselling and substance-use services, “which is huge,” she added.
Construction – with a budget of “around $100,000” – is hoped to install a passenger elevator at the food bank by summer, funded by Sources Foundation and a matching grant from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs.
The ministry announced on Feb. 17 that Sources was among 49 successful non-profit applicants for Community Gaming Grants benefiting capital projects, awarding the organization $58,754.
“Through Community Gaming Grants, we help ensure not-for-profit organizations can continue to provide the vital services people in the province depend on,” Minister Anne Kang said in a news release.
The funding for some, added BC Association for Charitable Gaming chair Caroline Miller, will be “transformational.”
Darrell emphasized that the food bank itself – which serves around 750 every week, including many refugee families – will not “at all” be diminished. Rather, the facility as a whole is evolving into a “hub of connections.”
That includes an office for Sources’ homeless outreach programs, which were previously largely mobile, and by-appointment opportunities for men to access showers; a service women have had at Sources’ Women’s Place for more than a decade.
Darrell described the food bank’s upper floor as “great space” with lots of windows and light, but under-utilized. Installing a lift will also open its community kitchen programs to everyone.
“It’s a great kitchen… but if you had accessibility issues you couldn’t participate, right, and that bothered us,” she said.
“Now, they’ll be able to access that.”
Darrell hopes to test the revamped hub over the summer, and have it fully open and ready in time for Thanksgiving. The project is one of her last before she retires, and “I’m not retiring until it’s done,” she said.
“I’ve very excited about it. To have that kind of a resource in this community is huge,” she said.
“Any way that we can serve the community better, we’re all on it.”
One other project in Surrey benefited from a Community Gaming Grant. Pacific Community Resources Society received $250,000 for kitchen renovations/construction at its new Foundry Centre. Located at 10280 City Parkway, the centre is expected to open this summer with mental health, substance use support and other services for youth aged 12 to 24.
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