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Local food bank finds new home

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Danny Whitman, left, and Maria Ortizfill boxes with food on March 13 at A Touch of the Father's Love Ministry and Food Pantry in the Battleboro community.

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BY WILLIAM F. WEST
Staff Writer

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

A food pantry ministry in need of a new location apparently has found one at the site of a former supermarket in Spring Hope.

A Touch of the Father’s Love is hopefully going to make a smooth transition within a couple of weeks, pantry Executive Director April Baker said. The future location, which was once part of the Lowes Foods chain, is in the 500 block of East Nash Street just northeast of downtown Spring Hope.

The future location is going to be nearly 30 miles southwest of the present one in the Battleboro community. Baker said although that’s a little further away than what she and her team of volunteers had planned, she heard the Spring Hope area lacks a food pantry.

Additionally, Baker said her information is there are senior citizens in the Spring Hope area lacking a place to immediately go for food assistance.

“So, this is going to be a tremendous blessing to them,” she said.

Baker in 2012 established the nonprofit organization, which has been operating in approximately 2,000 square feet of space in a building in the 200 block of West Battleboro Avenue, across from the Battleboro Post Office.

She said the landlord has provided that space rent free but said the landlord needs the building back for another use. She has been facing a deadline to move the pantry out by the end of this month.

She and her team appeared to have found a possible future location nearly 8,000 square feet in size and just a few miles away along U.S. 301.

The problem, she previously said, was the list price was approximately $290,000. She said efforts to raise funds via an online capital campaign resulted in securing approximately $41,000.

Baker said a food recipient asked about whether she had heard about the site of a former hardware store in Spring Hope as a possible location. She said the lead turned out to be unsuccessful but said she was told about the former supermarket in the town.

She said she then linked up with the real estate agent for the former supermarket, looked at the site and agreed to make lease payments. She indicated the agent should have the paperwork ready for signing by the end of this week.

Baker estimates the future location is anywhere from 26,000 to 28,000 square feet in size.

“So it’s going to be perfect for growth,” she said, also noting the place comes with a spacious parking area.

“It’s going to be by itself and it’s not going to be in anybody’s way, so to speak,” she said. “It’ll be just right. It’ll work for us and for the folks we help.”

Of plans to make the relocation from Battleboro, she said, “We’ll be out of this building we’re in now at least by the end of the month. We still have to pack.”

It shouldn’t take much to get the location in Spring Hope ready, she said.

“And then, hopefully, we can make a smooth transition within a couple of weeks,” she added.

She said there are food recipients who have made clear they’re going to find a way to make their way to the Spring Hope location to get food.

And she said she doesn’t anticipate problems with the volunteers making the commute.

“I have a couple that have to carpool together,” she said. “They live in Rocky Mount, so they were midway anyway.”

For more information about the food pantry, visit http://atouchofthefatherslove.org/

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