By Erin Tierney
The Creswell Chronicle 

Funding sought for community-use commercial kitchen

 

March 14, 2019

Image provided

Rendered image of the proposed commercial commumity-use kitchen at the Cobalt Activity Center.

Community Food for Creswell (CFC) is in the midst of a fundraising projet to install a community-use commercial kitchen in the Cobalt Activity Center.

The is a project aimed to facilitate new services and bolster the local economy, while also promoting local food availability and food education, said Susan Blachnik, Creswell Food Pantry manager.

One of those supporters is Blue Valley Bistro at 116 Melton Road. The restaurant will be lending ongoing support and sponsorship to CFC through 2019 by combining its music scene with fundraising efforts for CFC, said owner Seth Clark.

The fundraising event for CFC is scheduled for Friday, April 5, with music by soulful Americana duo Pretty Gritty.

Blue Valley Bistro has staged music nights in the past, and has altered its schedule. Music events will be less frequent - occurring once every six weeks or so - and pack more of a punch, Clark said.

The night will "showcase this fundraising event, provide top-quality music from the region, create a special atmosphere with an an alternative menu, and create something special for people," Clark said. There will be a special menu on music nights and opportunities to give back to CFC, including a 50/50 raffle and $1 off cover fees in exchange for canned goods.


Doors open at 5 p.m. and music kicks off at 7 p.m. There is a $5 cover, but if you RSVP beforehand, you get $1 off. Additionally, bring a canned good for CFC and receive an additional $1 off.

"We want to create excitement and put opportunity to a good cause," Clark said.

BENEFITS OF COMMERCIAL KITCHEN

A functioning commercial kitchen would offer free weekly meal programs from CFC in partnership with FOOD for Lane County, Oregon Food Bank, local volunteers and Creswell Middle School's "survival skills" cooking classes.

In addition, a variety of cooking and food preservation classes also would be provided in partnership with FOOD for Lane County and Oregon State University Extension services.

Plans call for children to receive basic kitchen self-sufficiency skills. Adults would be taught essential cooking skills, use of nutrition labels and techniques to shop for high-quality food in spite of financial limitations.

Further, food pantry customers would learn how to prepare less-understood foods such as dried beans, rice and seasonal produce. An "incubator kitchen" also would be available to entrepreneurs and farmers for production of value-added foods.

So far, the project has $34,440 secured, with a capped project budget of $212,440, Blachnik said.

The money raised thus far ranges from donations from Curtis Restaurant Supply, $4,000; Community Food for Creswell, $3,278; Creswell First! Community Foundation, $2,500; the City of Creswell, $9,162; Three Rivers Foundation, $5,000; Wheeler Foundation, $8,000; and Pacific Power Corporation, $2,500.


There is also $60,000 in pending grant applications, $40,000 in pending letters of inquiry and $63,000 in planned grant applications, for a total of $197,440.

"We are asking the community for financial support, as well as volunteer commitment," she said. "We will need a dependable team to prepare and serve the meals as well as to clear tables and clean the kitchen after meals."

Community Food for Creswell is working to fund the kitchen installation project by November 2019.

"This community project stands the best chance of being successful if there is a foundation of a strong local volunteer commitment and financial support," she said.

Donations can be made online via PayPal at communityfoodforcreswell.org, or mail to Community Food for Creswell, PO Box 351, Creswell OR 97426.

The nonprofit had signed a lease addendum agreement with the City of Creswell in October 2018 to provide additional use of space at the Cobalt Activity Center.

Image provided

Author Bio

Erin Tierney, Editor

Erin Tierney is the the editor of The Creswell Chronicle. A '14 graduate of Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania, she earned a bachelor’s degree in English-Writing, and was the editor-in-chief for her college newspaper, The Eagle Eye. Tierney was previously the associate editor at The Express - Lock Haven, before relocating to the Pacific Northwest in July 2016.

 
 

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