The Women and Children’s Free Restaurant has fulfilled a longtime goal: It’s purchased its own building and it will move in by January.
The restaurant has been located in the basement at 1620 N. Monroe St. – Christ Our Hope Bible Church – for 26 years. Its new location will be at 1408 N. Washington St., a building that’s known as Center Pointe.
“Nothing will change right now,” said Sherry Harbaugh, president of the board of the Women and Children’s Free Restaurant. “We will continue services at our old location at least until the end of the year.”
Once the restaurant has moved into its new location it will be able to expand its services, by serving more women and children on site, and also by making meals for other social services organizations.
“In our current kitchen we can make 14 pans of lasagna at one time,” Harbaugh said. “When the new kitchen is done we will be able to make 42 pans of lasagna at the same time.”
The restaurant has raised $800,000 toward a capital campaign goal of $1.8 million, $400,000 of which is earmarked toward a new kitchen.
“The new building needs some other repairs,” Harbaugh said. “Windows need to be brought up to code and the roof needs to be replaced.”
The dining room space at the new location will be doubled.
Continued fundraising is needed, said Harbaugh, and to help that along the Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund has issued a $50,000 matching challenge.
Harbaugh said it’s possible the new location will allow the restaurant to rent space to other nonprofits.
“Once we’ve moved in we will see how much space there’s left over,” Harbaugh said. “But that would certainly help with our budget.”