Thursday was a day of celebration at SHELTER Solano, as SHELTER, Inc. welcomed a small group of supporters to break ground on a new dining hall and kitchen. Construction will begin soon, and attendees were enthusiastic about what this will mean for the community.
“The dream of having a kitchen and dining hall here that can serve everyone and provide real food, not reheated food, has been a long time coming,” SHELTER, Inc. Chief Executive Officer John Eckstrom said. “We’re really happy with all of the support we’ve received to get here.”
The current dining room at SHELTER Solano has a very small capacity, and residents are forced to eat in shifts. The new, 7,100 square foot building will allow for up to 138 people to gather at a time, and the kitchen will provide a state-of-the-art environment for meals to be prepared. In the future, this will allow SHELTER, Inc. to offer culinary arts programs for those receiving assistance at SHELTER Solano.
“None of this would be possible without the longstanding commitment from the city of Fairfield and Solano County, as well as the business community and other non-profits,” Eckstrom added. “We hope that each of you here will spread the word that this project is underway. A lot of people have dreamt about this for the past 10 or 15 years. Now, it’s become a reality.”
Thursday’s event featured speeches from honored guests, as well as the traditional distribution of shovels and the breaking of ground inside the construction zone. Many of those guests proudly expressed their support of SHELTER, Inc. and the organization’s mission of assisting families and individuals by giving them paths to self-sufficiency.
“This is a dream come true,” Fairfield Mayor Harry Price said. “For those of you who were involved at any stage or any level, thank you for making certain that we can finally have a real kitchen, not only to feed residents but to ensure that, in the long run, some of the residents will learn culinary skills that will lead to future employment.”
“Today’s a really big day,” Fairfield homeless services manager Dawn La Bar said. “We’re putting in that final piece that’s going to be able to provide not only meals for everyone to eat at the same time, but an extra layer of job training that provides a livable wage.”
The dining hall and kitchen is scheduled to officially open in March 2022. Stay tuned to SHELTER, Inc.’s website and social media outlets for updates as construction progresses.