Church Out Serving scores $45G win
Aviva Canada awarded Church Out Serving $45,000 Tuesday toward its new community kitchen in Simcoe. Celebrating the win at Church Out Serving's Riversyde 83 building were chair Eric Haverkamp, of Simcoe, and fellow executive member Virginia Lucas of Waterford. MONTE SONNENBERG / SIMCOE REFORMER
A state-of-the-art kitchen is in the cards for the former liquor store in downtown Simcoe.
Church Out Serving – the church coalition behind We Believe in Simcoe Day – was named Tuesday as one of 13 beneficiaries of the Aviva Community Fund’s annual cash award program.
Church Out Serving won $45,000 toward the installation of a community kitchen at its Riversyde 83 building in downtown Simcoe.
Church Out Serving bought the former LCBO property in the Culver Street parking lot last year and is in the process of converting it into a community space focussed on food.
Church Out Serving members knew the announcement would come at noon Tuesday and were on the website for the countdown. A cheer went up when they hit the refresh button and saw their name in lights.
“I was ecstatic,” said Eric Haverkamp of Simcoe, chair of the Church Out Serving executive. “I did the whole fist-pump thing.”
“There were a few of us in the room together,” added Virginia Lucas of Waterford, a member of the executive. “We did a group hug.”
The funds will be used to build a community kitchen to health unit specifications. There are also plans to make improvements to the building’s heating-ventilation-air conditioning system.
Riversyde 83 will offer classes on cooking delicious food using fruits and vegetables grown in Norfolk County. There will also be canning classes and instruction on maintaining a healthy diet.
“Riversyde 83 will be a gathering place with a focus on food,” Lucas said. “It’s a community-building initiative building connectivity, developing relationships and providing people an opportunity to volunteer. We’re coming together as a community over food.”
The Riversyde 83 facility is already in use. However, Church Out Serving has ambitious plans for upgrades of which the community kitchen is a part.
With the windfall in hand, Church Out Serving is on course to cut the ribbon on the new and improved facility at the end of 2018.
Riversyde 83 is one of 13 groups across Canada that will share in the $1 million Aviva fund. Riversyde 83 is one of five winners in the Community Development category related to education, skills training, culture, research and basic needs.
Riversyde 83’s application was one of more than 500 applications to the Aviva Community Fund this year.
The application was short-listed and subjected to a 10-day public voting period on the Internet. Short-listed applications were also evaluated by a panel of judges.
Church Out Serving headed into the finals with strong community support. Not only do they have hundreds of families from more than a dozen congregations in their corner, messages of support also circulated in the local business and school community.
Church Out Serving had the top Aviva entry in 2017 in the under-$50,000 application category. That means supporters answered the call to visit the Aviva website and register their support.
Aviva Canada is an insurance company with 2.9 million customers nation-wide. Over the past nine years, Aviva Canada has awarded $8.5 million to worthy community projects.
“Supporting and caring for Canadians in making positive, sustainable change in their communities will always be a belief at Aviva,” Debora Hendrickson, senior vice president of Aviva Canada, said in a news release.
“We’re continually inspired by the commitment and engagement of Canadians from coast-to-coast.”