A newly constructed building in uptown White Rock is getting the thumbs-up from both the city and the community at large.
The small structure – donated to the White Rock Rotary Club and constructed by volunteer labour – is providing a semi-permanent and secure base for the ongoing hot meal initiative at the city-owned parking lot beside the White Rock Playhouse.
Dubbed the ‘Rotary serving station’ by program co-ordinator and district governor designate Raj Rajogopal, the cedar hut was declared open on Tuesday (July 21) by White Rock Mayor Darryl Walker, Rajogopal, meal program initiator Joan McMurtry, Rotary member Rheanna Sidhu and Marc Neufeld, project manager for Premium Fencing.
The program, designed to supply hot lunches for the homeless – and others undergoing economic hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic – is a four-day-a-week city and rotary collaboration, launched in May to join an existing Wednesday sandwich program provided by Peace Portal Alliance Church.
Latest development at the site is thanks to Premium Fencing, which split the materials costs with supplier Poco Building Supply and provided a volunteer crew to assemble it.
Sidhu said the serving station came about after it was decided that a more permanent, weather-proof structure for food distribution would be an improvement over a tent.
“I approached (Premium), asking for a discount on a pre-fabricated shed, and instead they said, ‘why don’t we custom-build you something?’
“I never could have imagined they would have been so generous,” she said.
McMurtry said she had originally only envisioned a temporary ‘shack’ for the project. She noted the new structure would provide a more durable option while Rotary and local faith groups continue to find ways to fill the social gap left by the curtailment of usual community meal programs by the pandemic.
Neufeld said it was a natural for the company and its supplier to want to help.
“The shed itself should last around 15 years.”
Rajogopal said that means the serving station will likely have continued use by the club for other events and programs adjacent to the Rotary Fieldhouse in South Surrey, once the pandemic is over.