More than a year of renovation work is estimated to be complete at the Prince Rupert Salvation Army Church in time to celebrate Christmas services, in December 2021.
“It’s been a long time since there’s been any kind of work poured into the building,” Lieutenant Geoff Butt, Salvation Army pastor, said.
The current building is over 40 years old and has not seen improvements since its opening. The renovations will see a centralization of the organization’s community services.
“Everything except the [thrift] store will be under one roof,” Butt said.
The biggest change the building will see is a brand-new kitchen which is currently located in a separate building across the street. The food preparation space will move into the church building with new and improved equipment.
The kitchen will have a large walk-in freezer, upgraded from a regular home-sized refrigerator, and a new dishwasher. With this, they will be able to store a lot more food for patrons, Butt said.
The building will also house new washrooms and showers along with future plans for in-house laundry to be installed.
“When we first got here, last year, there were holes in my office walls and things like that,” Butt said. “It’s essential. We’re the licensed food bank in town. We serve people every day.”
Butt said it’s not just helping lower-income and vulnerable people but services also assist the “hidden homeless” — people who often have a temporary place to stay, but not of their own. He says it’s the people who can find a place for the night, such as on a friend’s couch or sofa.
Once the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted they will be able to host breakfast and lunch five days a week for their patrons inside their building instead of the take-out service they are constrained to now. Additionally, Butt hopes for the return of community groups serving breakfast on Saturdays from their brand-new kitchen to fill the need in the community.
Norman Galimski | Journalist
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