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Construction nearly complete on new food pantry

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Construction workers, concrete trucks, drywall installers and masons have been swarming over the old Folkshop building at 904 1 Street E. The building is being remodeled and updated under contractor Hu Beaver’s expert guidance and will serve as the new home for Loaves and Fish Food Pantry.

Loaves and Fish Food Pantry board members Bryan River and Sid Rundel said the pantry hopes to be moved into its new digs by April 1.

Rundel said first and foremost the new space would better serve folks in need with more space and additional storage facilities.

As well as more storage room, the new food pantry will have offices where clients can meet with staff in private.

Rundel hopes a nicer, more organized facility may attract more volunteers.

Another perk will be bays with garage doors so trucks can be unloaded indoors. Beaver and River have been working on getting a used or donated walk-in refrigerator and freezer in the garage and sliding door coolers inside the building. Other improvements include a food preparation area complete with sinks. For instance, the food preparation area will be utilized when the pantry receives garden bounty or donated fruit. The fruits and vegetables can be washed and stored in coolers for better longevity.

The food pantry would also like to have an industrial dishwasher to get containers “super clean” so big batches of food could be broken down into family-sized portions. A washer and dryer are also on the wish list. Plans include a checkout and bagging area for clients.

The community has helped out, too. “Mr. Treasure State” Dan Eastman at Treasure State Concrete donated concrete for the food pantry. Western Building Center has given the food pantry materials at WBC’s cost. Also K & T Cabinets provided labor and low-cost cabinets. Todd Bassett from Glacier Bank presented board members with a $500 check to help with the remodel.

Labor has been donated also. Beaver said the Polson Boy Scouts already helped pull the insulation off the old ductwork and stomped it flat. They’ll get into the act again when the interior of the building is ready to be painted.

Beaver said there is still painting, trimming windows, scraping floors and lining the walls plywood to be done. The Building Trades class, a joint effort between Flathead Valley Community College and Polson High School, will help with those tasks.

As far as green remodeling goes, Beaver said the building itself was “still a very sound building.”

The building housed Mayhew Implement, served as a National Guard Armory and even did a stint as the animal shelter before it became FolkShop III.

The old insulation was replaced with a formaldehyde-free eco-batt. New, energy efficient windows took the place of the old windows. The heat pump, “a refrigerator in reverse,” Beaver said, uses a condenser unit outside to heat and cool the building as long as the temperature is above 20 degrees. Below that and the heat pump reverts to being an electric furnace.

The warm building will be a plus when the Loaves and Fish board throws a big open house to thank sponsors and workers sometime in April. 

River and Rundel said businesses individuals could feel free to donate to the Loaves and Fish Food Pantry to minimize mortgage costs.

Community members who would like to lend a helping hand to the local food outreach program can send a check to Loaves and Fish, 10 8th Avenue E., Polson.

Loaves and Fish is a 501c-3, non-profit so donations are tax deductible. 


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