Resource Center fast tracks pantry renovation

Posted on 05 Feb 2016 at 6:45am

Services continue without disruption, despite unexpected lease cancellation

Resource-Center

Workers strip what was the Red, Blue and Yellow rooms to the bare walls to build the new food pantry. (James Russell/Dallas Voice)


JAMES RUSSELL  |  Staff Writer

The food pantry is one of Resource Center’s most popular programs. Currently located on the Denton Drive Cutoff, just off Maple Avenue near Inwood Road, the pantry serves more than 800 people a week. So when center officials learned that the landlord at that space was unexpectedly cancelling the pantry’s lease, they knew that halting the popular service, even temporarily, was out of the question.

But it wasn’t just center staffers worried the pantry’s clientele would be inconvenienced. It also meant making significant changes to the center’s ongoing capital campaign timeline.

Resource Center is in the midst of an $8.7 million capital campaign intended to help the center meet the needs of an ever-growing community. Originally, the idea was to first move staff and social services into the new 20,000-square-foot facility under construction on Cedar Springs Road at Inwood when that facility was finished. That move would free space at the current Reagan-and-Brown location to move into phase two: consolidating HIV services, nutrition services and the food pantry.

Now, both the construction and renovation are happening at the same time. On the revised timeline, the pantry should be ready by mid-February, the new facility in March, and the Reagan-and-Brown renovations by the summer.

“This timeline was not ideal, but we are committed to clients,” Resource Center CEO Cece Cox noted. “We will not miss one day of service at the pantry. Staff is working to accommodate clients to ensure that their needs are being met during this transitional phase.”

In order to continue to meet the high demand for service, it will take $600,000 to renovate the Reagan-and-Brown building, including the construction and relocation of the food pantry.

The food pantry began in 1985 out of a cardboard box at Crossroads Market, then located at the intersection of Cedar Springs and Throckmorton. As need grew, so did the pantry. It moved to a larger space in the 3900 block of Cedar Springs, and eventually to its current location at Denton Drive Cutoff.

Now, through a partnership with the North Texas Food Bank, the center is able to readily restock its pantry with fresh produce, dairy, meats and frozen meals for the 1,900 clients who use it every month.

Cox said the total square footage of the Reagan-and-Brown facility will be about 12,000 square feet. The pantry space will be smaller than the current one. But the new one will be “more efficient in terms of client use,” said Cox.

It will also benefit clients who use public transit.

“When you use public transportation, you’re subject to longer wait times,” Cox said. Clients may be using already limited resources just to access the pantry and services, she added.

Doris Carrillo, Resource Center’s client services manager, said, “The new food pantry means a friendlier and more centralized location for clients.” She called the Denton Cut Off location “isolated.”

“The new food pantry location offers a one-stop shop for all of our clients’ nutritional and supportive needs.

With the move of the pantry to Reagan-and-Brown, clients won’t have to sacrifice stocking up on groceries over a daily hot meal. Now they can have both, due to convenient access to all programs,” Carrillo added.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 5, 2016.

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