CLOVERDALE — A church in Cloverdale is building a commercial kitchen to feed those in need, after years of efforts without a proper cooking space.
The Pacific Community Church has set aside 1,000 square feet of its facility, and raised over $350,000, to build a kitchen and serving area.
Alan Cadwell of the Pacific Community Church said the need in the area is great.
“Cloverdale is kind of a unique little community. It draws a lot of folks. There’s very affordable housing, there’s a lot of apartments, we have a homeless shelter just south of where we are, so there’s a need right in this enclave called Cloverdale,” Cadwell said.
The project began when the Cloverdale Chamber of Commerce and the local RCMP branch approached the church and asked if it could help. The request arose because Cloverdale Christian Fellowship, who used to provide meals, had to discontinue their efforts in 2010 because the Safeway mall they were renting was demolished.
Efforts continued as the Korean community braved the weather and provided meals in downtown Cloverdale using a makeshift tent.
All the while, the Pacific Community Church was serving meals to those in need, partnering with other churches in the area to do so. But its cooking facilities were inadequate, meaning that food prep had to be done elsewhere.
Up to 100 meals a week were served through the churches’ collaboration.
Then, one year ago, the church began fundraising for its own commercial kitchen, dubbed the Cloverdale Community Kitchen. They’ve raised over $350,000 and the kitchen is set to open at the end of November. But it will be about more than just food, Cadwell said.
The existing food programs will run out of the kitchen once it opens, but the plan is to add outreach programs for single parents and seniors.
“I think this is going to be a community centre where people will know that they will be looked after, that they will be taken care of... Who knows, maybe we get into clothes, there’s endless possibilities. This is a kitchen, yes, but there’s so many other things we can be doing.”
Cadwell said organizers expect the demand for its meal service to increase, perhaps even double, within a few months of the kitchen’s grand opening.
“We just feel the need will be there. We’re not seeing any diminishing numbers, in fact we’re seeing the opposite.”
Surrey councillors have been supportive of the project, Cadwell said.
Coun. Barbara Steele is impressed with the scope of the project and thinks it will help build community in the area.
“They help and they get people going in the right direction. If you can teach people to cook and teach them to be in an area together and work together – it’s about more than just food.”
Steele agreed that the need is great in Cloverdale.
“People wouldn’t normally think of Cloverdale as being a place that’s really in need. And yet they are, and will probably continue to be. It is everywhere. People think of the Whalley area and now into Guildford, but they don’t usually go down south much. It’s widespread,” she said.
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