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Castleberry Fairs

Food pantry building renovation making slow progress

Community asked to help with labor, materials or donations

THE NEW HOME of Agape Food Pantry on Route 16 in West Ossipee got a noticeable improvement earlier this month as a construction crew led by Wayne Karl of Tamworth put the new roof on the front of the building. The final push is on, with winter fast approaching, to gather the donations needed to completely finish the building’s exterior. (Mellisa Seamans photo) (click for larger version)
September 27, 2012
OSSIPEE — Passersby on Route 16 in West Ossipee might assume that the work being done on the Agape Food Pantry building means the Pantry no longer needs help. They'd be wrong. Now more than ever, with this glimmer of progress, the project that has remained stagnant for several months needs the community's support.

The Pantry building, located across the street from Pizza Barn is the former Pine Hill Plaza. Back in July 2009, the Plaza was gutted by fire but the quick and smart work of West Ossipee fire crews and several neighboring departments prevented the building from being a total loss. The building sat vacant for many months, considered a total loss and the former owner was under pressure by the town to tear it down. That's when Agape Ministries director Kevin Straughan saw potential in the building and in March 2011, that organization purchased the building.

In the time since, as a result of a series of monetary, material, and labor donations, slow progress has been made. The goal is to have the building weather tight for winter, then work can continue inside throughout the winter. The building will be transformed into the new home of Agape Food Pantry and a thrift shop that will help fund its operation.

With the help of general contractor Wayne Karl of Tamworth and his work crew, much of the roofing is done. Straughan said the organization has enough money to purchase the remaining materials needed to finish the roof and he is very grateful for the help of Karl and his work crew.

For the past 13 years, Agape Ministries has operated the food pantry in Ossipee that is currently serving 300 to 400 families per month, according to Straughan. He and his wife Janna first started the pantry in their Center Ossipee home and then it was moved to its current location in basement of Ossipee Valley Bible Church. A thrift shop that helps fund the pantry is now housed in a small mobile home in the church parking lot. The shop is bursting at the seams with the piles of donations of clothing and household goods donated by the community. Straughan said he and the Agape board are looking forward to the pantry and store being under the same roof and the much needed extra space that will help then to better serve the needs of the community.

A lot of volunteer help and $15,000 – that's what Straughan says is needed to finish the project. Materials needed include electrical supplies, insulation, interior construction materials, and vinyl siding. Karl said perhaps there are contractors out there with some leftover materials from jobs they have completed who might be willing to donate those items to the project instead of dumping them at the transfer station. Windows are being donated by Lowes Home Improvement Center. Straughan is also looking for an electrician and a plumber willing to donate some of their time to oversee the proper installation of those parts of the project.

Anyone interested in helping to get the building project finished by donating money, materials, or their time, if asked to contact Straughan at (603)539-4456.

Garnett Hill
Parker Village
Martin Lord Osman
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