Preparing hundreds of meals daily is no easy task, but staff at the Open Door Shelter in Norwalk say thanks to donations and volunteer work to its recent kitchen makeover, their service has never been more efficient.
"Not only are our churches and volunteers that help us delighted because the kitchen is more spacious, and it's cleaner, but people stepped up with donations of not only donations but dollars, but time," said Open Door Shelter interim executive director Jeanette Archer Simmons. "So it really shows you how a community can come together to make something happen that is so important."
On Monday the shelter debuted its new kitchen, complete with a new stove, granite tables, shelves, cooking supplies and a redesigned common room, following a 10 day renovation which began on August 1st, courtesy of local organizations and kitchen designer Christopher Peacock. The shelter's interim executive director Jeanette Archer-Simmons says they can now serve people quicker with more food choices.
"The stove was a big thing, that was the biggest purchase, but the better shelving is more efficient and the wonderful addition to a granite cutting table means that it's more sanitary."
The shelter currently serves about 370 meals a day; approximately 125 at breakfast and dinner and 90 at lunchtime. Archer-Simmons says with the donated labor and equipment renovation would have cost about $75,000.
"Our plumber was donated, the electrician was donate, the tiler came in and donated his time," said Archer-Simmons. "In addition, they put new seating in our eating area so we can actually serve people faster and move people through the serving line."
For more information on how to volunteer or donate non-perishable items to the Open Door Shelter's food pantry visit http://www.opendoorshelter.org.