A substantial donation is allowing Inn from the Cold to overhaul its kitchen and make meal preparation easier.

The improvements include a commercial dishwasher, which was delivered to the charity group this week.

Alice Patterson is the cook responsible for making 100 meals a night for homeless families.

"I have to make the meal and then stop and do the dishes, so it slows me down and it takes a long time for me to do the dishes and then go back and prepare the meal," said Patterson.

Executive director Linda McLean says volunteers at Inn from the Cold can spend hours up to their elbows washing dishes when their time could be used in better ways.

"Our volunteers — who come here to really learn about the people we serve, their stories, what has led them into a path of homelessness and what's leading them out — will be able to sit down and share those stories instead of scrubbing pots and pans."

Inn from the Cold expects to begin the kitchen renovation in early 2013.

The organization is still raising money for the project.