Pastor Bob Evans knew this day would come, but that doesn’t take away from the relief of it finally being here.
Thursday, Sharing Bread Soup Kitchen in Brainerd, a program Evans operates was presented with a check from the Otto Bremer Foundation that will cover the remaining cost of renovations desperately needed for the kitchen to operate at state standards. “It’s a real answer to prayer,” Evans said.
Last fall, Evans learned from the State Health Department that the soup kitchen, which has operated daily from the former Temple Baptist Church building for the last 25 years would need to renovate to meet commercial kitchen standards. Initially the renovation coast was estimated at about $50,000, but ultimately the total cost will reach approximately $68,000.
Evans said the renovation will include new flooring, cabinets and appliances to bring the kitchen up to code for commercial use.
Evans has taken the news of state mandated updates with great stride. In a December 2011 interview Evans said, “My angle on this is it’s an awesome opportunity to do stuff we’ve wanted to do for a really long time. We want people to be safe and we’re really happy about this.”
Evans has taken the proactive approach over the last six months recruiting help from the community including area churches, business, and individuals who donated approximated $27,000 of the funds needed to complete the renovation. Nor-Son Construction has also donated their planning and supervising services to help secure permits through both state and local offices. “We’ve made tremendous progress and all of our fund-raising goals have been reached,” Evans said. “We’re very grateful for the support.”
The Otto Bremer Foundation has agreed to supply the remaining $41,000 needed.
While Evans is grateful for the outpouring of support from the community, he noted that monthly donations for program’s day-to-day expenses have slumped and he encourages people to continue to give to both.
Sharing Bread plans to begin the improvements on the building immediately and hopes to have the entire project finished and the kitchen completely operational by Aug. 15. “We’re excited to be done with this project,” he said.
Evans said the soup kitchen will not close during construction — at least not completely. While the building will have to shutdown for about a week, Evans said boxed lunches will be available to patrons during construction at the west end of the Communitas Church building at 824 Laurel Street.
To make a donation to the Sharing Bread Soup Kitchen’s current project or ongoing operations, visit www.sharingbread.com and click “Give Now.” Donations may also be mailed to Sharing Bread, P.O. Box 632, Brainerd, Minn. 56401.
SARAH NELSON KATZENBERGER may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5879.