MANCHESTER — The Manchester Selectboard unanimously approved the Community Food Cupboard’s plans for an addition on the town office building that would double the non-profit’s operating space.
The project, which will be fully funded by the food cupboard, is still subject to Design Advisory and Development Review Board approval. After clearing those hurdles, the next step for the food cupboard will be raising the $150,000-200,000 needed to complete it. The food cupboard is hoping to move forward quickly and begin construction in late April.
With several pandemic-relief programs that help feed needy families ending in the coming months, residents of Manchester and surrounding areas are only more likely to start feeling the pinch of inflation.
The food cupboard anticipates that demand for its services will only increase, and storage of food and supplies is already a challenge. Staff and volunteers currently have to bring products outside to waiting customers in the parking lot.
Cara Boshart, president of the Community Food Cupboard, said the aim is to alleviate that inefficiency and provide a smoother process for customers who can shop for their own needs.
“Our goal is to get people back inside ... be able to shop through and all meet up again,” she said. “We’re hoping to be able to have a place for milk and dairy, so that’ll be different. Just give people a little more of a shopping experience.”
Another benefit of the addition is a garage door that will allow bulk deliveries, sometimes in excess of 10,000 pounds, to come straight into the food cupboard rather than pallets having to be broken down outside and carried in by hand.
The board consensus at Tuesday evening’s meeting was that it was a good idea, and several board members made a point to note the town’s longstanding and positive relationship with the food cupboard. Vice Chair Greg Cutler did ask a few questions for due diligence, though, particularly on the food cupboard’s long-term future.
“I love this and think this is a great idea,” Cutler said. “I’m a little concerned about a 501©3 having a co-ownership situation where – not that we’d ever leave, but if we were to move somewhere else – have you thought that through?”
Boshart acknowledged that there would need to be wording in the contract, still to be negotiated, that would provide for the food cupboard to recoup some of the money from the sale of the building. There was also discussion of including options for both parties on top of the 10-year lease that the food cupboard is seeking.
Donations to the food cupboard, for the project or otherwise, can be made via PayPal on their website, or payments can be mailed by check.
Other meeting agenda items
• The board granted authority for Chairman Ivan C. Beattie to sign, on behalf of the town, the $1.1 million bond commitment on the Main Street sewer project. The town will be repaying the bond until 2053.
• The board unanimously approved the appointment of George Araskiewicz, Community Bank’s Southern New England district manager, to the Investment Advisory Committee.