Linda Price

Linda Price

Kitchen reno bolsters Upper Room Mission

Vernon's Upper Room Mission unveiled its new kitchen to clients Monday after eight weeks of renovations.

A major face lift has lifted spirits at the Upper Room Mission.

The Vernon agency unveiled its new kitchen to clients Monday after eight weeks of renovations.

“I walked in and went, ‘Thank you Lord, it’s so beautiful,’” said Linda Price, kitchen supervisor.

The kitchen, which has doubled in size, is bright and open and has separate areas dedicated to cooking, meal preparation and dish washing.

Previously, duct tape held cabinets together, the floor was rotting, counters were too low and residential appliances gave out under the steady demand that comes from upwards of 250 meals a day.

“It’s like night and day. I’m really, really happy,” said Price.

Challenging circumstances had become so routine, Price is having to adjust to her new surroundings, including having a convection oven.

“I had omelettes done in 15 minutes instead or 40 minutes or more,” she said.

Clients are thrilled with the renovations.

“They’ve done a really good job here,” said Fred (not his real name), who works but has a limited budget.

“This is good for people making ends meet.”

While the kitchen was closed, dining service was unavailable and bag lunches were given to clients.

“They missed being able to sit down and hang around and visit after,” said Lisa Froom, general manager.

“We’re now back into the routine of connecting more.”

And because of the increased space in the kitchen, those relationships are expected to expand.

“Guests will be able to help with dish duties so they feel involved,” said Froom.

But while the kitchen is open, one major challenge remains.

About $87,000 is still required to cover the $165,000 project cost.

“We had to move forward in faith. We had no choice,” said Froom of proceeding with renovations despite not having all of the money in place.

Funding sources are being sought and there’s one easy way for residents to participate.

“Pennies are going out (of circulation) so we’re collecting them,” said Froom.

The project was able to be completed because of significant community support to date.

“We had a lot of volunteer labour with the demolition and construction,” said Froom.

“I don’t know where we would be without that.”

To donate to the kitchen, drop by the Upper Room Mission at 3403 27th Ave. or call 250-549-1231.