Sparkling new kitchen for CAB
Staff members and Board members of the CAB RH Rediker volun- teer centre looked happy to be showing off their new kitchen last Friday, and rightly so. For a little under $50,000, and with the help of some dedicated volunteers like Board president Renald Demers and Board member and mayor of Ogden, Joe Stairs, the centre’s kitchen has been transformed into a proper, industrial kitchen, now ready to handle the
centre’s growing demand for Meals on Wheels. Requests for meals have been increasing by about 1000 meals a year.
“Before we couldn’t cool the meals down fast enough; now we have a fridge just for cooling down the meals. Jovette used to have to cook turkeys overnight but this new commercial convection oven will cook a turkey in an hour and a half,” explained CAB director Mylene Labonté on a tour of the kitchen and its sparkling, stainless steel appliances and countertops. “We couldn’t have done it without the help of Mr. Demers and Mr. Stairs who spent hundreds of hours working on the project,” added Ms. Labonté.
“The new pantry is especially wonderful,” said head chef Jovette Higgins who has been cooking at the CAB for seventeen years. “Before we had so much food stored in every room, some even in the hall closet; now it’s all together. We cook on average thirty to thirty-five meals a day and we cook for our groups.”
“The first thing we had to do was make this doorway wide enough for the new appliances. We added a wall, there is all new wiring, and we moved the electric box upstairs so our cooks wouldn’t have to run downstairs every time a breaker went off. Rona Fluet helped us to install this big oven,” said Mr. Demers about the convection oven that weighs 560 pounds. Mr. Demers also showed me mini kitchens he craftily installed in the Centre’s conference room and staffroom from left- over cupboards and sinks, letting nothing go to waste. He finished by pointing out his wife sitting among the volunteers and dignitaries from the community who were attending the kitchen’s official opening. “I have lots of appreciation for my wife, Joyce, who never complained about me doing so many hours here, sometimes even working on Sunday,” he said thankfully.
Funding for this important community project was provided by the Memphremagog MRC Pacte Rural program ($20,000); the Caisse Desjardins de Stanstead ($5000); the town of Stanstead ($1000); the town of Ogden ($500); government ministries, private and commercial donors.
Banging on new pots at the official opening of the CAB RH Rediker’s renovated kitchen were (l. to r.) CAB Board president Renald Demers, head cook Jovette Higgins, CAB Board member and Ogden mayor Joe Stairs, Jean Desruisseaux representing the Caisse Desjardins de Stanstead, and councillor Paul Stuart representing the town of Stanstead.
To the right of these CAB directors and cooks is the new pantry that the cooks are thrilled with.