Plans to convert the land used by a vacant manufacturing plant into a new facility for the Lowville Food Pantry have been in the works for several years.

In 2016, food pantry officials bought the property at 5502 Trinity Ave. from QubicaAMF Worldwide LLC for $1. The building previously served as a casket company and was later used to create bowling pins.

The food pantry rents space for its operations at 7646 Forest Ave. from the Lowville Farmer’s Co-op. This 2,800-square-foot building is a short distance from the area where the new 3,600-square-foot structure will be once it’s built.

Materials for the planned two-story facility began arriving last month, so food pantry officials can begin their project. This is wonderful news for everyone who has put forth the effort to make this happen.

“According to pantry CEO Daniel N. Taylor, a $21,000 grant from St. Peter’s Catholic Church and a $20,000 grant from the Northern New York Community Foundation combined with their own capital fund to pay the bill of about $60,000 for the pre-fabricated building kit. Mr. Taylor said the project has been delayed two months due to a change in the insulation required for the building and extra time for [the New York State Electric and Gas Corp.] to install gas lines, but contractor Michael Hanno is ready to move the project forward,” according to a story published Aug. 13 by the Watertown Daily Times. “The smaller of the two existing structures on the lot, which has been used for the Christmas Giving program for the past few years, will be connected to the new building with a breezeway, Mr. Taylor said. The Christmas Giving program will move upstairs in that building and downstairs will house the administrative offices and ‘back of house’ operations for the many pantry programs.

“The new building will be exclusively for the pantry and will include a reception area and a private room for client in-take as well as walk-in refrigerators and freezers. Both buildings will be handicap accessible and have more parking available than their current location,” the story reported. “Along with the 1.3-acre main parcel, QubicaAMF also threw in an adjacent 1.1-acre parcel that pantry officials have started to clear for use as a community garden, Mr. Taylor said.”

Mr. Taylor said the pantry will make the vacant building on Trinity Avenue available for community use. It will require some cosmetic work but is structurally sound.

Food pantry officials began a campaign last month to raise the additional $200,000 needed to finish the project. They anticipate having it done next spring.

“Just pulling it all together and get it done while making sure it gets done right is the focus now,” Mr. Taylor said.

The Times story reported that the food pantry’s programs include Food Sense, Santa for Seniors, Christmas Sharing, a summer backpack program and outreach to homeless people in the county. It serves between 275 and 375 families every month, officials said.

The pantry’s mission in part is to “provide food, personal care items, household items, clothing and any other such services as may from time to time appear needed in a charitable manner to persons and/or families who because of emergency situations are unable to meet these needs themselves or through the assistance of existing social services agencies within the community,” according to information on its website.

This is a terrific project, and we encourage people to contribute their time and financial resources to see that it’s successful. Visit http://wdt.me/5Q3W9u to learn more.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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