Late last fall the Friendship House and partners had put together a project plan to renovate the first floor kitchen, the first of many renovation projects planned to modernize and repair the 60 year old building on 744 Fraser St. The building previously supported two residential equivalent kitchens each on the 1st and 2nd floors, both kitchens had performed very well in the past but with new programs and a growth in present services it was determined that they would eventually become overwhelmed. One example of the volume of foods prepared would be the Community Christmas Dinner which I have been told could include cooking anywhere between 100 and 250 turkeys. Now add on other programs and services identified by Executive Director Anna Zanella as: professional culinary classes, recreational courses and additional social services, it is easy to see how a residential kitchen can become obsolete.
After a working plan had been established Anna then applied for the Prince Rupert Port Authority Community Investment Fund which had been established in 2009. After a short period of time, and to everyone's delight, the Friendship House had been awarded the 69th Community Investment Fund. In awarding the fund Prince Rupert Port Authority's President and CEO Shaun Stevenson stated that, "The Prince Rupert Port Authority is pleased to contribute to improving the food bank space and community kitchen facilities at the Friendship House Association of Prince Rupert. Our organization is proud to partner in local legacy projects that improve the quality of life for residents. And this project's focus on food security is extremely fitting for our Community Investment Fund. At it's core, Friendship House programs endeavor to bridge the gaps in socio-economic status and cultural understanding within our community - a goal that we share and are proud to help the Friendship House achieve."
The public Kitchen Unveiling was held on July 26th, 2019 at the Friendship House for all community members. The Port Authority provided a barbecue for the event which had to be moved into the preschool area due to bad weather. Starting, Stan Dennis performed a "welcome to the territory" speech followed by a few words being said by Maynard Angus (representing the Port Authority), city Councillor Reid Skelton-Morven, and Anna Zanella. Later that afternoon Anna Zanella presented Sadie Dennis with the "honoring our elders award" on behalf of the B.C. Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centers in recognition of her dedication and commitment to training and mentoring youth in traditional food harvesting and preparation.
The new kitchen and its staff will be providing a central area to prepare meals and food storage for the various programs in the building and community as well as possibly providing services for the other buildings included in the organization. On behalf of the Friendship House Association of Prince Rupert, "a big thanks" goes out to the port authority for their $94,172.00 contribution to the project and Marcan Construction(general contractor), sub-contractors(G&R Plumbing, Lighten Up Electric and Rupert Acoustics LTD ) for their timely completion of the 1st floor kitchen.