LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Lubbock Meals on Wheels will be serving more of the homebound elderly or disabled in the community following a $3.4 million renovation and expansion project to its facility on 34th Street.
"We have been in this location since about 1990 and the number of people that needed our service kept growing but our building had not," Executive Director Lisa Gilliland said. "We had not had any significant improvement to our building since 1998. It was long overdue. We were actually completely out of room."
The project is set to be completed in March and has been underway for about two years following two grants from the J.T and Margaret Talkington Charitable Foundation totalling about $2.7 million. The remaining expenses were raised by Meals on Wheels.
"Prior to this expansion we had not been able to add a route, which means serve more people, in a couple of years," Gilliland said. "Right before the holidays we were able to add a route and we are about to add another one because we have gone from about 700 clients a day to 770 just over the past few months. We see that the need is there and, fortunately, our construction is timed appropriately that we will now have the space."
The facility will go from 6,200 square feet to around 15,000. That space includes an enlarged kitchen and food service areas as well as a volunteer center and place for those volunteers to prepare meals and handle coolers.
"When we first started this project, we looked at the growth patterns for the city and the need for our services," Gilliland said. "At the time, we were doing about 700 meals a day. This project will take us 10 to 12 years into the future where we'll be able to double that number."
Gilliland tells KCBD NewsChannel 11 the expanded facilities also gives them the chance to assist area towns with meals and services. With each new route, five more volunteers are needed along with monetary support for the organization that receives no government funds and is not a United Way funded agency.
"We've already noticed our food cost has increased and here we are just beginning March," Gilliland said. "We are already over budget on our food cost because of the increased number of clients we are serving. But, that's what we are here for. This entire expansion and renovation was made to serve the community."
Lubbock Meals on Wheels has remained in the facility and open during the entire construction process. Gilliland says she and her staff are excited to join the volunteers in leaving a legacy for those who will serve in the future.
"It's our honor and our pleasure to serve our clients," Gilliland said. "They are people that helped shape this community. They were bank presidents. They were first grade teachers and now we get to help them in a time in their life when they need assistance."
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