A five-year project was finally completed as the new Lowville Food Pantry welcomed visitors Oct. 14.

Officials made plans to create a larger facility. This would enable them to expand on their offerings to the people they serve.

The food pantry purchased land 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.

(This is, in essence, a donation by QubicaAMF Worldwide. But for the transaction to be considered legal, some amount of money must change hands. Charitable organizations often buy land and buildings for $1 through such arrangements.)

The plan was to have a modern facility constructed at this site. The food pantry no longer needs to rent space from the Lowville Farmer’s Co-op.

The building used by the pantry now is 2,800 square feet, and it’s a short distance from where the new 3,600-square-foot structure was constructed. Chief Executive Officer Daniel N. Taylor and everyone else connected to the food pantry have every reason to feel proud of their accomplishment.

“The new space features a reception area and intake room where clients can have privacy when applying for services. To further ensure confidentiality, paperwork will be passed through a window to volunteers who will help fill food orders for clients, who will then leave through a separate exit. The majority of the building will be for the storage of food items. In the main storage area, freezer and refrigerator units have been installed to help prolong the shelf life of fruits, vegetables, meat and dairy products. The space also features a large walk-in cooler,” according to a story published Oct. 14 by the Watertown Daily Times. “The food pantry purchases inventory from county businesses and local growers and is a fully volunteer organization, with volunteers contributing over 1,000 hours a month to provide services to those in need. The project, which has been in the works for the past few years and was delayed due to the [novel coronavirus] pandemic, was covered by various grants combined with capital funds and private donations. According to Mr. Taylor, the project ended up costing between $250,000 and $300,000 after materials costs increased amid the pandemic.

“The older building that the pantry extended is about 70 years old and has some issues, Mr. Taylor said. All the insulation is now at the bottom of the walls, so it needs new insulation; the siding is old tin and is starting to rot in places and cause other issues; and the roof needs to be replaced. New windows have been installed, and the next project will be to address the space and make it workable for everyone,” the article reported. “In the spring, Mr. Taylor said large blue barrels off to the side of the building will hopefully get cut in half and be part of the community garden that will be created on the piece of property adjacent to the left side of the building. The idea is for the vegetables to come right out of the community garden right over to the pantry.”

Representatives of the food pantry have put forth tremendous efforts to see this plan move forward. Community members have been very generous in donating time and money to the project. We congratulate everyone in Lowville for sharing the food pantry officials’ vision of an improved facility and making sure it became a reality.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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