Sudbury Food Bank taking orders for use of new community kitchen

The Sudbury Food Bank is adding a community kitchen to its current space on Webbwood Drive. The space will be used by community groups for food preparation, training, demonstrations and other uses.

The Sudbury Food Bank is adding a community kitchen to its current space on Webbwood Drive.

The space will be used by community groups for food preparation, training and demonstrations, said executive director, Dan Xilon.

Examples of uses for the community kitchen include training at-risk youth or showing low-income families how to prepare healthy meals.

The kitchen is big enough to train a group of six people.

The community kitchen is modelled after a similar space Xilon saw when he was in Prince Edward Island. He said there isn't anything like this in Sudbury.

The first thing he did was ask around to local organizations to see if this would be something they'd be interested in using. Then he pitched the idea to the board of directors at the food bank.

He said there has been tremendous community support, even before workers started the renovations. 

"We went to private donors and said, 'we need this help, but not if it takes away from your food donation. It's got to be an extra'."

Xilon said everybody thought it sounded like a wonderful idea.

Kitchen worth $400,000

A kitchen like this one would normally cost about $400,000, Xilon said. However, because the food bank used donated equipment and other supplies, they've been able to keep the cost to roughly half that amount.

Xilon said he hopes further donations from private companies or individuals will help reduce the price tag even further.

The kitchen is nearing completion, although there is a bit of electrical work left to do, as well as installing all the kitchen equipment and putting in the ceiling tiles.

Xilon said everything should be completed by the end of this week. 

After that, a few groups will test the kitchen over the summer months to see what needs to be changed, or if anything else needs to be added to the space.

Grand opening in September

The Sudbury Food Bank already has 35 to 40 groups that have expressed an interest in using the kitchen.

The kitchen is expected to be open for September.

Once finished, the community kitchen will comply with the latest building and fire codes, Xilon said. And it will be fully accessible.

Xilon said the new community kitchen will also be regularly inspected by the Sudbury and District Health Unit.

The new kitchen does take away any space for food storage in the warehouse, Xilon added.


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