The Eagle Rock Christian Food Center, after a search of several months, has found a new home.
It will move into the basement and double garage of the Solheim Lutheran Home, a board-and-care facility for senior citizens, for a token $1 a year in rent.
Heavy on food but light on cash, the center must move from the Eagle Rock Covenant Church, one of 11 congregations in Eagle Rock that support the food center.
The 3,000-pound food supply is too heavy for the second-floor rooms at the church, a modest wood-frame and stucco building on Yosemite Avenue where the center began giving food to the needy a year ago. There has been no structural damage to the building, but church officials were worried that the weight posed a hazard.
The garage and basement at Solheim will provide the center with exactly what it was looking for: free space in a building with concrete floors resting on firm ground.
Better yet for the center's volunteers, most of them elderly themselves, there is an elevator to the basement.
"We don't have to be carrying food up and down the stairs," said Rosalie Klauss, the food center's director.
An agreement between Solheim and the food center still needs to be signed, but the governing boards of both organizations have voted their approval. So have the residents of Solheim, said Elizabeth Batchelder, administrator of the home, which is affiliated with the American Lutheran Church.
"I had a meeting with the residents and had a round of applause," Batchelder said. "I think they share a general concern for the plight of people who are less fortunate than they are."
Before the move can be made, the center's new home needs about $12,000 worth of improvements. The garage needs plumbing, electrical wiring and insulation before being used as a distribution point. There are plans to build a room next to the garage, which would give the center about 1,000 square feet, almost as much room as at Covenant Church.
Solheim has agreed to pay half of the cost of materials for the job, Batchelder said. Klauss said officials hope that most of the labor and material will be donated.
A nonprofit organization, the center survives on donations. The $400 a month it spends to buy surplus food at discount prices to feed about 200 people is supplemented by donations from the participating church congregations and by food drives held in front of a supermarket.
Other Churches Involved
The other churches that provide support are Eagle Rock Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, St. Dominic's Catholic Church, Eagle Rock Church of the Nazarene, Seventh-day Adventist, Eagle Rock Baptist Church and Occidental United Presbyterian Church, Christian Assembly Foursquare Church, St. Barnabas Episcopal Church, Eagle Rock Presbyterian Church and United Church of Eagle Rock Methodist-United Church of Christ.
The Seventh-day Adventist church has donated $3,000 toward the construction, Klauss said, and another $200 has trickled in.
The food center is also expecting a donation from Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity at Occidental College. In a fund-raising event and during canvassing, it collected $400 and $50 worth of goods.
Although its lease with Covenant Church expired in March, the center will stay there until the move, operating with a lightened food stock. Three freezers and half of the food have been removed and stored.
The Rev. Paul Ogle, pastor at Christian Assembly and treasurer for the food center, speculated that the food center may be operating out of Solheim by September.