N.S. food truck that serves people in need to open permanent space
Freedom Kitchen and Closet received $25K in grants to build a new space
A Nova Scotia organization that has been providing meals for people in need from a borrowed food truck will soon have a new, permanent space in Lower Sackville.
"It's going to be a lot less stress," said Rainie Murphy, co-chair of the Freedom Kitchen and Closet.
"We are not going to have to load up a truck an hour before. We're not going to have to unload the truck for an hour after. We'll be able to open our door and start serving right away."
Freedom Kitchen and Closet has been operating out of a food truck since its inception last October. It was developed as an outreach program of Knox United Church with an aim to provide warm meals to Lower Sackville youth on Monday evenings.
Murphy said volunteers would get about 50 visitors every Monday when the truck started operating.
But the need has grown during the pandemic. The team now feeds about 400 families.
"Anyone who needs a meal, a free meal on Monday night, there's no judgment," Murphy said.
"I have one rule in my truck and now our own little shed ... the word 'no' does not exist. So if you need a meal, you come on down and get a meal. We're not going to ask questions."
Murphy said Freedom Kitchen and Closet received $25,000 in grants from the federal government and the United Way that allowed them to build a new space.
Construction has commenced in the parking lot of Knox United Church.
"It's just a dream come true," said Beth Martin, the chair of Knox United Council and a volunteer with Freedom Kitchen. "It's seeing something that started off as a pilot [project], develop into a full program, develop into something that is supported.
"We are so very fortunate to have the support of our community and businesses within the community, and it allows us to have a home and to know that the program is going to be ongoing."
Martin said the cooking will still be done in the church kitchen, but the space will include a larger closet for clothes, a few fridges, some food warming space and a serving area.
"It will be so much larger and brighter, and just welcoming," she said. "We're really looking forward to welcoming all of our clients and the larger community to Knox and we just can't wait to see them when we get the chance to open up."
Murphy said the new space was supposed to open on Dec. 21 but a damaged water pipe set construction back. However, she's still hopeful the space will open soon.
"We all are praying that we can serve our Christmas meal out of the new facility. It's just going to be monumental for everyone," she said.
With files from Haley Ryan