The stainless steel in the new kitchen at Lighthouse Mission shone almost as brightly as the faces of the patrons who stopped by for lunch on Friday afternoon.
The Main Street mainstay has a completely renovated kitchen that has been relocated to the back of the building from its old spot just inside the front door.
Operations manager Joel Cormie said the new space and appliances are already making a difference for the more than 250 patrons served their midday meal.
"People like Project Echo and our other partners, they don’t just pity the people here, they take the necessary action to help relieve the distress these people are in. It’s a magical thing. It’s just wonderful," Cormie said.
"We’re just so excited because there’s multiple benefits that are going to benefit the community big time."
The kitchen reno was led by Jeff Fisher and Project Echo which raised most of the approximately $40,000 needed to build and fill the space and supplied volunteer man hours. Reese Precourt, the 15-year old Winnipeg girl who baked hundreds of cookies last March, donated the proceeds to buy "Reese’s Pieces" for cooking, such as bowls, utensils and spices. Numerous other community partners donated time, supplies and labour.
Cormie said the mission can now provide more varied and nutritious meals.
"We’ve got this massive brand new soup pot, a brand new convection oven, new countertops, new flooring and cupboards," Cormie said.
"We used to be limited to just soup, but now, because of the new convection oven, people can come here and get Shepherd’s Pie and lasagna and so many different meals."
He said about 10 volunteers usually run the kitchen.
"Now that the kitchen is at the back, a great thing is people won’t have to line up outside anymore. When it’s -40 C, it’s hard to wait outside for your food," Cormie said. "Now they can line up inside the dining hall which will be a huge blessing as it gets colder, and people are really excited about that."