Montague food bank gets new home

After months of lobbying a food bank in eastern P.E.I. has a new location.

After months of lobbying a food bank in eastern P.E.I. has a new location.

The province will lease an old gas station on the outskirts of Montague to the Southern Kings and Queens Food Bank for $1 a year. It will also maintain the property and pay for $65,000 worth of renovations.

For food bank volunteer Lawrence Power it's the culmination of a long, uncertain campaign.

"We've been up and down quite a bit," Power told CBC News Tuesday.

"They've got the roof finished, and now they're starting to work inside. We're hoping that in another month to a month and a half we should be able to move in."

The food bank, which feeds 125 families a month in southeastern P.E.I., has operated for years out of the basement of a local church. But the narrow staircase made it inaccessible to the disabled and seniors, and hard on volunteers. At Christmas, volunteers would have to haul 1,350 kg of potatoes and 250 turkeys down and then back up the stairs. The location was also short on space.

Local MLA Charlie McGeoghegan has been lobbying the government to provide a new space for close to a year.

"It will be great to have them in the new location," said McGeoghegan.

"It's an essential part of the community. I know it will be easier, accessible."

Public Works Minister Ron MacKinley found the budget to pay for the new location.

"Nobody wants to see food banks, but I guess it's a thing we've got to have," MacKinley said.

"It's going to make it more modern for the people working there."

Power said moving into the new location in the early fall should give volunteers time to prepare for the Christmas rush.