Almost 100 years after its facilities were originally built, the Frederick Rescue Mission has a new kitchen to serve the community. The expanded and remodeled cooking space was unveiled Wednesday morning.
The George L. Shields Foundation Bread of Life Kitchen will be safer and allow easier access to serve meals and receive food deliveries, said Arnold Farlow, Frederick Rescue Mission executive director. The expanded space on West South Street will also help more people, he added.
“We’re not here for buildings and all that, while that’s important. We’re here to help the homeless and help those who are suffering,” Farlow said.
Since 2011, the mission has served more than 130,000 meals from its kitchen to people who may otherwise be food insecure, said Leesa Ruderman, Frederick Rescue Mission public relations director.
According to a 2018 report by Feeding America, a nationwide organization of more than 200 food banks, 15,470 people were food insecure in Frederick County in 2016, meaning they lack access to affordable and nutritious food.
Mayor Michael O’Connor thanked the mission for its continued programs to help Frederick residents.
“It would be wonderful if Frederick were a community that did not need to provide these services. But we are a community that needs to provide these services and it’s important that we do provide these services,” O’Connor said.
Plans to expand the mission’s kitchen began years ago and required getting approval from the Historic Preservation Commission. The kitchen was built in 1925. The entire project cost more than $850,000, and was funded through private donations, the George L. Shields Foundation and the Ausherman Family Foundation, Farlow said.
“What we got was a bigger kitchen table but kept the same size frying pan,” Farlow said.
Demolition and construction for the project began in July. In the meantime, the mission cooked its daily meals in a food truck parked behind the building. Andy Anderson, kitchen manager, praised the work of the foundations and donors to make the kitchen a reality.
“It’s going to open a lot of new avenues for us with the food we got to take care of the public,” Anderson said. “It’s an amazing kitchen that’s a dream come true.”