Shelter Nears Completion at Ruth Brogan House

By Lura Jackson

 

Father David Sivret stands next to one of several recently acquired coolers at the Irene Chadbourne Ecumenical Food Pantry. Some coolers were donated while others were purchased at a minimum cost. New families continue to register at the food pantry on a weekly basis. (Photo by Lura Jackson).

The many volunteers of the Irene Chadbourne Ecumenical Food Pantry are on the brink of achieving another significant and socially responsible accomplishment for the community: offering a safe and secure shelter for families displaced by calamities such as fires as well as those in need of temporary emergency housing for other purposes beyond their control.

The shelter consists of a live-in ready unit located in the second story of the Ruth Brogan home on Main Street, where the food pantry now operates from. Several bedrooms with up to eight beds are available, along with a fully functional kitchenette and living room complete with furniture and a television. 

“We wanted to make it as comfortable as we could, considering the circumstances,” Father David Sivret said. While the finishing touches are still being completed, the shelter presents itself as a clean and welcoming place. Fire resistant doors have been added along with fire resistant sheetrock and hardwired detectors. Heat has been rerouted via ductwork to the previously unheated upstairs, providing a cozy environment.

“We do have rules we’ll need to follow. If someone is intoxicated, we absolutely will not take them in,” he said. He added that if it was a homeless person using the domicile, a staff person of the same gender would also be required to stay in the facility. A grant has been written to provide a stipend for such staffers, but “it’s still a few months off,” Sivret said. Surveillance cameras will be installed in a few visible locations to provide security. “We simply want to protect ourselves as best we can,” he said.

The downstairs area has had its upgrades recently as well. A series of coolers was unveiled last week, enabling the food pantry to keep its dairy and vegetable items cooled while saving considerable space. Three coolers were purchased while several others were donated from area businesses. “They also makes life easier when we’re bringing in new goods,” Sivret commented.

Sivret said that the pantry has continued to see a steady number of new clients, averaging two new families a week. In the past two weeks, all four families have been residents of Calais. For the most part, the available food is holding up to demand, with the exception of baked goods and dairy products. “When we get them, we take it as a blessing. It gives us a little more to give out,” Sivret said.

 

For more information on the Irene Chadbourne Ecumenical Food Pantry and its associated programs, visit www.irenechadbourneprograms.com.