PLYMOUTH – The Plymouth Community Food Pantry invites the community to tour their recently renovated space Aug. 5.
President of the Plymouth Community Food Pantry Board (PCFP) James Forker said that the tour and celebration will be held at 10 a.m. at the food pantry at 20 Dewey Ave. Local legislators and political leaders, including Mayor David Merchant, have also been invited to attend.
Forker said that the pantry’s previous long-time Executive Director, Erin Kennedy, was “instrumental” in obtaining funds for the food pantry. Funding for the renovation came from the will of her late former professor and mentor at the Taft School in Watertown, Richard Cobb. A plaque ceremony in honor of Cobb will also be part of the renovation celebration on Aug. 5.
“Richard Cobb, remained close friends with Erin long after her graduation and admired her volunteering her time at the PCFP,” said Forker. “When Professor Cobb passed away in January of 2019 at the age of 75, after teaching at Taft for over forty years, he bequeathed a sum of money to the Pantry in his will that almost to the dollar funded the Pantry renovation.”
Forker said that, for many years, the pantry had been in “dire need” of repair and renovation. This included an asbestos abatement in the floor tiles. The timing, he said, was “nothing short of miraculous.”
“When Erin resigned early last year due partly to the Covid crisis, Larry Chiucarello stepped in as the new Executive Director, and along with the Board of Directors, spearheaded the planning and implementation of the PCFP renovations,” said Forker. “At that time during the middle of the Covid crisis, we began planning the outline of the renovation in conjunction with our landlord St. Cyril and Methodius Orthodox Church. As of today the results have been nothing short of spectacular. The long-term benefit to the local Plymouth/Terryville community is incalculable. The PCFP volunteers and Board of Directors are eternally grateful to Erin and Professor Cobb for this donation.”
Chiucarello said that the renovations had been discussed for the past three or four years. The planning began June last year the work began March 20 this year. The renovations were completed on June 22.
“Overall, the Pantry is cleaner, safer, healthier and a more conducive atmosphere that promotes healthy eating and a friendly space for those who enter it,” he said. “It moves us in the direction of our mission; to work within the community to end hunger, its causes and effects.”
Renovations included the removal of crumbling floor tile which contained asbestos. The electrical service was upgraded, with new wiring and plugs installed. This electrical upgrade made the pantry both brighter and more energy efficient.
Additionally, a box with a plug was installed on the exterior of the building to allow the Emergency Management Depart to plug in a mobile generator that will run all of the electricity to the Pantry during a power outage.
The renovations also saw the installation of new bathrooms and the removal of walls to create more open space. All of the appliances were relocated to one room and the director’s office was reconfigured. A new storage closet was added as well.
New exterior and interior doors and ceiling times were installed and a fresh coat of paint was applied. New gondola shelving was purchased to create a better flow for shoppers. A carriage corral was also installed to keep the pantry’s 12 shopping carriages organized. The carriages were donated by Adams Hometown Supermarket.
The food pantry re-opened June 25 of this year and follows all Health Department and CDC guidelines. Clients are able to shop inside or pickup curbside. The food pantry also offers deliveries for the homebound.
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or email@example.com.