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HomeMy Public PortalAboutWatertown Food Pantry - COACity of Watertown, MA  ARPA Project Proposal Submitted by: Lydia McCoy Submitted on: May 25, 2023 Request Number: ARPA-18 Project Name: Watertown Food Pantry Proposal Type: City Department Senior Services Recommended Project Manager: Lydia McCoy Project Summary: The project will involve the relocaon of the city food pantry from the Methodist church to a city building. The new locaon will be more accessible and will enable the food pantry to serve more individuals and families. These renovaons will ensure that the new locaon is safe, accessible, and efficient for the food pantry staff and volunteers. Some of the renovaons include new floors, shelves, handicap ramp, increase of doorway to warehouse sized door of 8’ wide 9’ high, installaon of a hand sink, bathroom, tearing down of the wall to create storage area, new electrical wiring esmated at $152,000 to complete. Amount of ARPA Funds Requested: $200,000 Minimum Funds Needed: $152,000 Matching funds available? No Other funds available? No Project Narrative: I have a detailed narrative to upload ARPA Funds Request May 25, 2023 Watertown Department of Senior Services Watertown Food Pantry DIRECTOR OF SENIOR SERVICES, LYDIA MCCOY 1 ARPA Funds Request May 25, 2023 Watertown Department of Senior Services Watertown Food Pantry DIRECTOR OF SENIOR SERVICES, LYDIA MCCOY 2 Introduction: Dear city council, I am writing to you today to request funds for relocation assistance for the Watertown Food Pantry. The food pantry was established in 1988 and serves approximately 130 families/250 individuals per week, for a total distribution benefit of approximately 13,000 persons across the year. The food pantry was established by the Council on Aging due to food insecurity experienced by seniors and run by Council on Aging staff and volunteers for the last few decades. Currently the food pantry is staffed by a part-time Food Pantry Coordinator Kathy Cunningham and over 16 committed volunteers. The food pantry is funded primarily by donations and grants with the expectation of the Food Pantry Coordinator salary provided by the city. The space it currently functions out of the basement of the Watertown Methodist Church, which it shares with some other organizations. The space has graciously been provided mostly by donation except for utility fees paid to the church. This space is no longer ideal due to repairs needed from the ceiling collapsing. There is a growing need to expand services due to the impact of inflation increasing food insecurity for many residents on fixed incomes who don’t qualify for state or federal food assistance programs with very low-income guidelines. A designated city space would allow the food pantry to operate through-out the week and not have the to set up and break down to clear the space for use by other organizations. The food pantry is need based unlike many other income-based programs offered in the state. Unlike most food pantries, the Watertown food pantry is set up like a general store. Patrons can shop at the designated tables of fresh food items such as frozen meat and poultry, cereal, dairy, canned and boxed goods, fresh produce, fresh bread, and sweet snacks and pastries. This has been the custom of the food pantry since it was established and makes the experience more comfortable for patrons. The pantry provides personal care items year-round and during the holiday season they provide holiday focused assistance everything from Turkeys at Thanksgiving, Christmas gifts for the kids, Mothers and Father’s Day baskets of toilettes. Patrons also have access to a case worker who provides resources and applications to needed programs and services like SNAP. The Watertown Food pantry was one of the only food pantries to stay open throughout the Covid 19 pandemic and extended service to those in need throughout nearby communities when other pantries shut down Watertown moved its distribution outside in order to stay safe while serving the community. The pantry is currently open to the public every Tuesday from 10am – 2pm for food pick up. This grant proposal outlines the relocation of the city food pantry from a local Methodist church to a city building. The current location even after renovations has become inadequate due to the increasing demand for services, and the new location will enable the food pantry to be open more than once a week and serve more individuals and families more efficiently. The City Manager has designated a space in the Parker school for the pantry relocation. The project will require a budget of $200,000 towards building renovations to the current space in the Parker to adequately meet the needs of the food pantry. Background: Fortunately, The Watertown Food Pantry has been providing vital services to the Watertown community, ensuring that those in need have access to food and hygiene products. This is a vital community resource. The need for food assistance can be particularly serious, as they may have limited ARPA Funds Request May 25, 2023 Watertown Department of Senior Services Watertown Food Pantry DIRECTOR OF SENIOR SERVICES, LYDIA MCCOY 3 income and resources to begin with. According to the National Council on Aging, nearly 10 million older adults are at risk of hunger, and many seniors are forced to choose between paying for food and other essentials like housing, healthcare, and medication. For families who don't meet the income guidelines for SNAP, the need for food assistance can also be significant. SNAP is designed to provide benefits to low-income households, but many families who earn just above the income threshold may still struggle to afford enough food, especially in the face of rising prices. Project Description: The project will involve the relocation of the city food pantry from the local church to a city building. The new location will be more accessible and will enable the food pantry to serve more individuals and families. These renovations will ensure that the new location is safe, accessible, and efficient for the food pantry staff and volunteers. Some of the renovations include new floors, shelves, handicap ramp, increase of doorway to warehouse sized door, installation of a hand sink, bathroom, tearing down of the wall to create storage area, new electrical wiring estimated at $200,000 to complete. Budget: 1. Increase of doorway to warehouse sized door 6'-0" wide x 6'-8" high double door, design and construction $60K, a. (Food delivery entrance) The food pantry received about 4k pounds of food a month. The door will be widened to allow for easy access for large trucks and deliveries to the food pantry. This will require cutting into the building foundation as the space is at the ground level. 2. Installation of a hand sink - $4,000 a. The installation of a hand sink will ensure that the food pantry staff and volunteers have access to a clean and sanitary area for hand washing. 3. New electrical wiring - $20,000 a. New electrical wiring will be installed to ensure that the new location is up to code and can support the equipment needed to run the food pantry. 4. Bathroom - $50,000 design and construction $50K+. a. Waste pipe for the toilet could be the biggest cost/challenge. A bathroom will be added to the new location to provide staff and volunteers with a clean and sanitary area. 5. Tearing down the wall to create storage area - $5,000 a. Completed in house, misc. materials to finish the walls and ceiling. The wall will be removed to create additional storage space for food and hygiene products. 6. Moving expenses (rental trucks, moving supplies, etc.) - $10,000 7. Equipment (refrigerators, freezers, shelving, desks, chairs, etc.) - $20,000 ARPA Funds Request May 25, 2023 Watertown Department of Senior Services Watertown Food Pantry DIRECTOR OF SENIOR SERVICES, LYDIA MCCOY 4 8. Contingency fund - $31,000 Conclusion: The budget of $200,000 will cover the costs for the relocation of the city food pantry project, including the additional renovations requested. These renovations will ensure that the new location is safe, accessible, and efficient for the food pantry staff and volunteers. The food pantry serves 130 families and 250 individuals per week for a total distribution benefit of approximately 13,000 persons across the year with food insecurity. The food pantry also offers hygiene products that are essential for living but not covered by programs like SNAP or WIC. During the pandemic, the food pantry was the only one in the area to state open, never closing its doors to those in need of food. Project Timeline: November: - Week 1-4: Design/engineering needed to door and bathroom, Advertise the project, open bids. December: - Week 5-6: Review Bid Process. Hire contractors for building renovations and equipment installation, plus kick-off meeting, 2 weeks. January – May Weeks 6-12: Project duration, depending on the scope 8-12 weeks. - Begin building renovations, including demolition and electrical wiring. - Install new floors, shelves, hand sink, bathroom, and widen doorway to warehouse sized door of 8’ wide 9’ high. Begin installation of handicap ramp June: - Week 13: Move food pantry equipment and supplies to a new location. Ensure all equipment is properly installed and functioning. 1 week Conclusion: Based on the timeline outlined above, the relocation of the city food pantry project could be completed by the end of June 2024 if it were to get started in November. However, it is important to note that unexpected challenges may arise during the renovation process, which could cause delays. Therefore, it is important to remain flexible and adjust the timeline if necessary to ensure that the project is completed safely and efficiently. ARPA Funds Request May 25, 2023 Watertown Department of Senior Services Watertown Food Pantry DIRECTOR OF SENIOR SERVICES, LYDIA MCCOY 5 Metrics for Success: 1. Increased capacity: If the renovation increases the capacity of the food pantry to serve more people or provide more food, this could be considered a success. For example, if the renovation allows the pantry to store more food or provide more refrigeration, it may be able to serve more people or offer a wider variety of food. 2. Improved accessibility: If the renovation improves the accessibility of the food pantry for individuals with disabilities or limited mobility, this could be considered a success. This will include installing ramps, widening doorways, or adding accessible restrooms. 3. Improved safety: If the renovation improves the safety of the food pantry for both clients and volunteers, this could be considered a success. This will include installing security cameras, improving lighting, or adding fire safety features. 4. Increased efficiency: If the renovation allows the food pantry to operate more efficiently, this could be considered a success. This will include reorganizing the space to allow for better flow of traffic or creating more efficient storage solutions to reduce the amount of time it takes to retrieve items. 5. Client satisfaction: If the renovation results in increased satisfaction among clients who use the food pantry, this could be considered a success. This can be measured through surveys or feedback forms. 6. Volunteer satisfaction: If the renovation results in increased satisfaction among volunteers who staff the food pantry, this could also be considered a success. This can also be measured through surveys or feedback forms. The outputs and outcomes: Outputs: 1. Renovated building space: Renovating the building space to accommodate a food pantry that serves 250 people a week and provides storage space for food. 2. Food inventory: Stocking the pantry with a variety of food items that meet the nutritional needs of the clients. 3. Equipment and supplies: Acquiring and maintaining necessary equipment and supplies to run the food pantry, such as refrigerators, freezers, shelves, and packaging materials. 4. Trained volunteers: Recruiting and training volunteers to staff the food pantry, including training on food safety, customer service, and other relevant skills. Outcomes: 1. Increased food security: The food pantry would provide a reliable source of food for residents who are experiencing food insecurity, which can improve their health and well-being. 2. Improved health outcomes: By providing nutritious food, the food pantry can help to improve the health outcomes of clients, reducing the risk of chronic diseases and other health issues. ARPA Funds Request May 25, 2023 Watertown Department of Senior Services Watertown Food Pantry DIRECTOR OF SENIOR SERVICES, LYDIA MCCOY 6 3. Community engagement: The food pantry can serve as a hub for community engagement, bringing residents together to volunteer, donate, or receive food. This can foster a sense of community and social cohesion. 4. Reduced food waste: By distributing surplus food to people in need, the food pantry can help to reduce food waste, which is both environmentally and economically beneficial. 5. Improved economic stability: When people can access food from a pantry, they may be able to use their limited financial resources for other expenses, such as rent or utilities. This can help to reduce financial stress and increase economic stability. Overall, the outputs of the project are the physical and tangible elements that are necessary to run the food pantry, while the outcomes are the benefits that the food pantry provides to the community, such as increased food security, improved health outcomes, and community engagement. Benefit to the city of Watertown: 1. Improved food security: The food pantry would provide a reliable source of food for residents who are experiencing food insecurity, which can improve their health and well-being. 2. Reduced healthcare costs: When people have access to nutritious food, they are less likely to develop chronic health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. By reducing the incidence of these conditions, the city could save money on healthcare costs. 3. Increased economic stability: When people can access food from a pantry, they may be able to use their limited financial resources for other expenses, such as rent or utilities. This can help to reduce financial stress and increase economic stability. 4. Community engagement: A food pantry can serve as a hub for community engagement, bringing residents together to volunteer, donate, or receive food. This can foster a sense of community and social cohesion. 5. Improved property values: If the renovation of the building hosting the food pantry results in a more attractive and functional space, it could potentially increase property values in the surrounding area. Overall, the benefits of a building renovation to host a city food pantry can be significant for the city's residents, both in terms of financial savings and other positive social and health outcomes. Meeting the City’s ARPA criteria: The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) provides funding to help communities respond to and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. A building renovation to host a city food pantry in a city building that serves about 250 people a week throughout the COVID 19 Pandemic meet several of the criteria for ARPA funding listed below: ARPA Funds Request May 25, 2023 Watertown Department of Senior Services Watertown Food Pantry DIRECTOR OF SENIOR SERVICES, LYDIA MCCOY 7 1. Supporting public health: The food pantry would provide a reliable source of nutritious food for residents who may be struggling to access healthy food during the pandemic. By improving food security, the project could help to support public health and reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission among vulnerable populations. 2. Addressing negative economic impacts: The food pantry could help to address the negative economic impacts of the pandemic by providing a free source of food for residents who are experiencing financial hardship. This could help to reduce food insecurity and financial stress, which in turn could support economic recovery. 3. Investing in infrastructure: The building renovation to host the food pantry could be considered an investment in infrastructure, which is one of the key areas that ARPA funding is intended to support. By improving the physical space that houses the food pantry, the project could help to create a more functional and efficient facility that can better serve the community. 4. Supporting vulnerable populations: The food pantry would specifically serve vulnerable populations who may be disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, such as low-income residents, seniors, and individuals with disabilities. By supporting these populations, the project could help to reduce the negative impacts of the pandemic on those who are most at risk. Overall, a building renovation to host a city food pantry that serves about 250 people a week could meet several of the criteria for assessing American Rescue Plan Act funding, particularly in the areas of public health, economic recovery, infrastructure investment, and support for vulnerable populations.