BY BILL PHILLIPS
Sometimes solving one problem leads to the creation of another.
That’s exactly what happened at the Hart Pioneer Centre.
The centre had been using four deep freezers for more than just keeping food frozen. The deep freezers, lined up end-to-end, were also used as countertops. In a small kitchen that can be called upon to serve 150-200 meals, space is at a premium.
But, it was time for the old freezers to go. Hart Pioneer Association president Lorraine Prouse secured a New Horizons grant to replace the freezers. The new freezers are wonderful, she says, and they’re upright freezers, which took away some countertop space at the centre.
“We had no cupboards and we used tables, which aren’t a good height to work on,” Prouse says.
She debated applying for a federal grant to have cupboards and a countertop installed, but grants can take time and there are no guarantees. Someone suggested she approach local businesses to help out. She debated making the call for about two weeks and now her only regret is that she didn’t make it sooner.
Prouse talked to Scott McWalter at the Brink Group of Companies and a few days later company founder and CEO John Brink stopped by the centre to take a look.
“I wasn’t fussy, as long as we got cupboards with countertops,” says Prouse, adding she wasn’t looking for a high-end solution. “They came in, took a look, and said we will build you something that will last you a long time.”
The Brink Group of Companies contacted Onyx Stones and Custom Cabinets and before long the new high-end countertops and cupboards were in place.
“This is much better that what we were looking at,” says Prouse, who had gotten three quotes from other suppliers for a ‘plain Jane’ set of cupboards.
The Hart Pioneer Centre is the only seniors centre in the city that owns its building, which means it has to be self-sufficient. Improvements have to be paid for by the membership or by securing grants, or, by the generosity of others in the community.
“It’s probably the best Christmas present this centre has received in a long time,” says Prouse. “We thank (the Brink Group of Companies) wholeheartedly. It only took one phone call, one conversation.”
A couple association members are working on creating a wooden plaque commemorating the donation.
The Hart Pioneer Centre Association was created in 1985 and has more than 200 members.