When Sherri Duke, a claims associate at the Great Northern Road Walmart was given a tour of the soup kitchen last year she wasn’t expecting to see what she did.
The stock room that holds all the non – perishable food items was in such disarray with shelves falling apart not strong enough to hold the food, Duke knew something had to be done. After talking with some associates at Walmart it was determined that a small community project could benefit the Soup Kitchen. The “My Sustainability Plan” is an volunteer initiative that encourages associates from Walmart stores to choose small, individual actions that make a difference in their community.
The Soup Kitchen fit the bill. Shortly after, Kenna Dufresne and Duke plus others met with Sam Spadafora , Sault College Instructor, Civil and Construction programs. A plan was set in motion.
Fundraising activities were held throughout the year to help pay for any materials required but it turned out that money wasn’t needed. All materials and work were donated in-kind for the project.
With the help of Sault College Construction students in partnership with Home Hardware, shelving units were reconfigured and installed in The Soup Kitchen to help accommodate food donations this holiday season.
Students and staff from Sault College’s Construction Carpentry Techniques, Residential Construction and Civil Engineering Technician Program donated their time to create the shelving units while Home Hardware agreed to generously donate all of the material for the project.
Duke says the transformation is like “night and day” “When it’s all said and done, the whole project costs nothing and we were able to put $4,000 in their bank account”
“One of our employee’s husband is an engineer and he designed the units free of charge” Joe Naccarato Assistant Manager of the GNR Walmart said
“The store does a lot for the community, we “adopt” a school each year and we help them fund raise and this Saturday we have “Shop with a Cop”
“This project is an example of how we see inherent value in the support of our partners enriches the relevancy of our curriculum and programming while also giving back to the community,” says Sam Spadafora, Sault College Instructor, Civil and Construction programs. “We’re proud of our students for volunteering and contributing to a worthwhile cause in this way.”
Ward 1 councillor Steve Butland was on hand at the Community Centre for the unveiling of the new shelving units. “This is an example of the community coming together and doing something good” Butland said, “I have to mention Tony Martin, this was his baby a long time ago and I am sure he would be thrilled if he was here”
Ron Sim, Manager of the Soup Kitchen was thrilled with the donations, “now we don’t have to worry about the health and safety of the volunteers getting hurt, the old shelving dates back some 40 years” Sim said, “we have one generous community I’ll tell you that anytime we’ve been in need this community has come through for us”
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