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Joyce Endee

Push is on to complete Agape Food Pantry project

Lease at former Ossipee Valley Bible Church is up on Dec. 28

THANKS TO VOLUNTEERS from the IBEW Local #490, the new home of Agape Food Pantry in Ossipee is getting the needed electrical work done to help the non-profit open their new headquarters. The push is on with a deadline looming before the end of the year that forces the Pantry to move out of its current location. Fifteen volunteers from Local #490 volunteered Dec. 16. On Tuesday Joseph Carey and Jonathan Mitchell (pictured here) and Todd Sanborn returned to get some more of the work done. (Mellisa Seamans photo) (click for larger version)
December 20, 2012
OSSIPEE — "Sometimes I think 'was I crazy to step into this?' but now look what is happening," Agape Ministries' Kevin Straughan said in an interview Tuesday as he recounted the numerous donations of materials that have come in in recent weeks.

Straughan said Agape Ministries is a truly faith-based organization and relying on God and the generosity of the community is what has taken his plan of converting a fire-salvage building into a new home for the Agape Food Pantry and its supporting thrift shop.

For 13 years Straughan and his wife Janna have been the driving force behind feeding the hungry in Ossipee. For the past six years they have operated the food pantry out of the basement of Ossipee Valley Bible Church in West Ossipee and their thrift shop that raises money for the pantry in a mobile home in the church parking lot. With a change in pastor and change in name of the church, so too comes a change in their support of Agape Ministries. Straughan said the church has asked them to vacate the property by Dec. 28.

The Straughans purchased the former Pine Hill Plaza located at the intersection of Pine Hill Road and Route 16 in West Ossipee just over a year ago. Their plan all along has been to renovate the building that was gutted by fire several years ago into an expanded food pantry, kitchen, offices, and thrift shop.

Progress towards their goal has come in spurts over the past year but recently has seen a flurry of activity, thanks to many volunteers and local suppliers either donating or providing materials at cost.

Once the project is complete, Straughan said a complete list of all who donated will be compiled, but he did announce some recent and very generous gifts the organization has received. Dana Wallboard Supply, Inc. has donated wallboards to be hung throughout the interior. Nantucket Beadboard of Rochester has donated thousands of dollars' worth of beadboard. Superior Insulation has offered to hang all the insulation already purchased plus blow in ceiling insulation for the entire building at a less than minimal cost. Rockingham Electric has donated fixtures, wiring, and electric panel boxes. Duchesne Heating will be donating material and labor to get the building heated. North Conway Incinerator has donated the roll-off containers used to dispose of salvage and construction debris materials.

This past Sunday, Dec. 16, volunteers from International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (Local #490) gave up their day to get to work at the pantry installing electrical systems. Fifteen volunteers from around the state were part of that effort, with three more returning the next day. A stop by the Pine Hill building found Joseph Casey, Jonathan Mitchell, and Todd Sanborn back at it again on Monday. Casey said he was contacted by Pantry representatives and put a call out to the workers in the Local #490 asking who would be willing to travel to Ossipee and help the organization in need was pleased, though not surprised, that 15 stepped forward to help a community.

Straughan said Agape volunteers will be handing out the traditional Christmas food baskets, as they do every year, this Friday, Dec. 21 at the Pine Hill location. The Pantry will then close until Jan. 3 to concentrate full effort on getting the Pantry open in its new location for the New Year.

With the deadline for being out of their current location just days away, Straughan said material donations are still needed to get the job done. Specifically, the project needs plumbing and piping supplies for installing the hot water heating system; 30 six-inch can lights and 30 eight-foot fluorescent light fixtures with bulbs; wired smoke detectors; seven exit lights and signs; and flooring material. Part of the building will be carpeted and the remainder can be either vinyl or laminate. Anyone interested in donating materials or volunteering to help hang the walls or helping in some other way is asked to call Agape at (603) 539-4456 or Straughan said, a better number to reach him directly is his cell phone at (603) 677-6826.

Agape Food Pantry serves an average of 100 families a week throughout each year from Ossipee alone as well as families from surrounding communities.

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