Dr. Matthew Bahen of Emerald Valley Dental in Creswell presents Creswell Food Pantry manager Susan Blachnik with a check for $2,000, enabling Community Food for Creswell to reach the $10,000 threshold necessary to earn grant-matching money from Oregon Food Bank toward the installation of a new community-use commercial kitchen. Photo provided/Rose Lowell
A $2,000 donation from Dr. Matthew Bahen of Emerald Valley Dental on May 30 brought Creswell Food Pantry/Community Food for Creswell (CFFC) to its goal of $10,000, triggering a matching $10,000 grant from Oregon Food Bank to help pay for a community-use commercial kitchen at the Cobalt Activity Center, where the Food Pantry is located.
Another $2,000 came in the next morning from the Larson Family Foundation, raising to $84,513 the total secured to date toward the $212,400 kitchen project. That total includes CFFC funds, donations, in-kind donations, local government money and grants – and it’s enough to allow CFFC to apply for a $25,000 Collins Foundation grant.
”Once we reached the Oregon Food Bank match, it brought us high enough to apply to the Collins Foundation,” said Creswell Food Pantry manager Susan Blachnik. ”We had to have one-third of the total project cost to apply, and the deadline was in about 10 days.”
CFFC kicked off matching grant fundraising on April 16 – less than seven weeks before achieving its goal; but with that application deadline looming, ”it felt like an eternity,” Blachnik said. ”We still may not get the grant, but at least we can apply – and it’s a domino of things: the next big thing is to have 50 percent (of the project cost) by August to apply for the $60,000 Ford (Family Foundation) grant.”
Other key donations toward the matching grant included $2,500 from Banner Bank, $1,000 from the Nelson Restaurant Corporation, $500 from Farmlands Market and $395 from CreswellFirst!
PayPal, Facebook and GoFundMe fundraisers, individual donations, ”Music with a Cause” 50/50 raffles at Blue Valley Bistro, a plant sale and basket raffles aided the cause.
Still-pending grants for the kitchen project include $10,000 from the Chambers Family Foundation and $5,000 from the Cow Creek Umpqua Indian Foundation. Applications are planned for $117,000 in additional grants, including the $60,000 Ford grant, $20,000 from the Oregon Community Foundation, a $7,000 Siletz Tribal Charitable Contribution and $5,000 from the Baker Family Foundation.
The commercial kitchen will offer three main services: A free weekly community meal program with CFFC partnering with Food for Lane County, Oregon Food Bank, local volunteers and Creswell Middle School’s ”Survival Skills” cooking classes; cooking and food preservation classes in partnership with FFLC and OSU Extension, including basic kitchen self-sufficiency for children and cooking, nutrition and food-shopping classes for adults; and an ”incubator” kitchen available for lease to local entrepreneurs and farmers.
The goal is to have all funding secured by November 2019 and to have the kitchen installed and programs up and running by March 31, 2020.