By Molly • Molly Walker • 

Soup kitchen to move for repairs

The move will allow the church to replace the floor and repair other damage stemming from a sewer backup in February. 

According to operations manager Howie Harkema, Servpro, which specializes in property damage restoration, came in to undertake a thorough cleanup. That allowed the soup kitchen to continue operating without raising health concerns.

Since then, the church has been conferring on a repair plan with its own insurance company and that of the city, which is responsible for the municipal sewer system. That plan will also be carried out by Serpro.

Harkema said new tile will be laid in the kitchen and hallway and new sheetrock will be installed 30 inches up from the floor. He said all equipment will have to be moved either to a storage pod or the Cooperative Ministries site while the work is underway.

He said regularly scheduled meals will be served at Cooperative Ministries from Friday, July 25, to Friday, Aug. 1. Plans call for resuming meal service at St. Barnabas on Monday, Aug. 4.

A cadre of volunteers pitched in Wednesday and Thursday to help with the moving.

Harkema said pots, pans, utensils, dishes and food carts were taken to the Cooperative Ministries for use there. The stove, the ice and the dining hall tables and chairs were placed in storage.

He termed it “a huge job” — and one that looms all the larger, since it has to be repeated the weekend of Aug. 2-3. 

“We’re so grateful to the Cooperative Ministries for allowing us to utilize their space for a full seven days,” said Harkema. He added that he appreciates the great collaboration that exists, in general, between the area’s feeding ministries.

The soup kitchen serves the hungry from 4 to 6 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. About to celebrate its 25th anniversary, it served 33,470 meals to 16,985 guests in 2013.

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