by Maureen McNair
Even though the Food Pantry volunteers received a key for our new suite at the beginning of the month, we could not move in immediately. The owner of the strip mall where we are located sent in a plumber, carpet cleaner, and property manager to do some work. Even after he sent in a carpet cleaner and released too many cans of air freshener, the suite was still visibly dirty. We were also concerned the air freshener was not solving, but only masking, odors we originally detected. The suite had been a marshall arts studio for many years.
Enter church member Andy French, a commercial building inspector. Andy graciously offered to inspect the suite. Here’s the bit of synchronicity. I did not need to tell Andy where we are located because he personally inspected the building when it changed hands around 2005.
Andy showed up with lots of tools, a tall ladder and a moisture detector among them. He also graciously prepared a report and punch list for us. We are all so grateful to Andy for his expertise! There are lots of items on his punch list, including work on the front door and HVAC systems that require the expertise of a contractor. While we are waiting for contractors to complete their work, a crack team of volunteers has already started on the work we can do ourselves.
Last Sunday, for instance, while many of you may have been attending worship services, Valerie Jaques, Jeff Kline, Nina Douglass, and I were in suite 105. Valerie and Jeff carried the load of the labor it took to tear down two interior walls the marshal arts studio had used for office space. I wanted the walls removed on a Sunday so the noise of sledge hammers and ripping dry wall would not disturb the workers at the insurance agency with which we share a wall. Valerie and Jeff are clearly kindred spirits when it comes to sharing the glee of destroying walls.
At Andy’s direction, we will wash the walls with TSP before painting. Then, we will remove the carpeting and figure out what to do with the flooring. I have also surveyed the other pantry volunteer teams to find out what their must have items are for the new suite. So, after painting, we will use their feedback to try to configure a layout for food, diaper, and equipment storage along with work stations.
We do not know when contractors will finish their work, so we do not have a move in date yet. Stay tuned! I will let you all know when we can have our grand opening! And, I know I wrote last week that I would share more good news from Feeding San Diego. That organization has been a great partner and more news about our relationship is still coming. Meanwhile, thank you all so much for your continued generosity. The pantry exists because of you!
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