Loaves and Fishes (L&F) has been in operation for more than 30 years and has now been operating out of the FPC Activities and Outreach Center (AOC) at 215 Foster Street for nearly two decades. In 1999, the AOC was completed at the cost of $1,300,000. A major gift of $400,000 was given to that project specifically because L&F would be housed there, utilizing the upper level with its commercial kitchen and dining room designed for 100 people. Today L&F feeds on average 186 meals per day in that facility, six days a week. As of 2017, that pace resulted in over 52,000 meals for the year.
What we did not anticipate (and could not have predicted) back in 1999 is that this use of the facility would dramatically restrict its usefulness for child and youth activities. Given the importance of the feeding ministry, even if we had known the consequences, our church undoubtedly would have proceeded with locating L&F in the AOC. Now that L&F has outgrown the facility, it is time to make the choice to reclaim it for FPC ministries to children, youth, and young adults.
But we will not leave L&F without a home; it will become stronger and better. We will pay forward the gift that was given to us, with interest these 20 years later L&F will expand to include on-site warehousing and distribution of food, a larger kitchen for food preparation and service, a larger dining room, covered gathering space outside for people who are waiting to enter the facility, and industrial grade restrooms.
Loaves and Fishes has since received $300,000 from Phase 1 of this Campaign and relocated to a brand-new beautiful facility at 825 Crossland Avenue.
After years of hard use by many groups, the AOC must be renovated to accommodate new ministries. The area of most intensive use by L&F (kitchen, dining room, upstairs restrooms) will receive the most significant renovation, along with modifications to the exterior that are designed to make the building more attractive and inviting to families. Plans are already under way to fill the AOC with activities that cater to young families, beginning with moms of preschoolers (gym, yoga), children (exercise, before and after school, tutoring, homework), and youth (Young Life). We will take full advantage of this opportunity to expand the programs of our Preschool and Advantage Learning Center, and to add youth and college programs.
Given our plan to focus on the expansion of children, youth, and young adults programs, it would be neglectful of us to delay the inevitable replacement of an HVAC system that has served the church’s educational and administrative areas for 30 years. We have been warned repeatedly that the HVAC system could fail at any time. To avoid an emergency interruption, we have since installed a new, energy efficient system that allows customizable settings for each room in 2019-2020 in the educational building.