Visalia's oldest and largest food bank was in desperate need of new front and back doors. Visalia Emergency Aid Council asked a neighbor for a little help and wound up with a major facelift.
The non–profit food pantry has been feeding the hungry for 81 years. Money raised is spent on food not fixing up its facilities. Recently the group asked Lowe's for a couple of doors. The development director for the non-profit Iris East said the company told Visalia Emergency Aid Council to submit a request on a larger scale. "They asked us to put together a wish list of 15–20 items. We only had ten."
Friday Lowe's sent in its Heroes Team. They are men and women who are artists when it comes to building. Eric Locke is store manager. "Realized that they really have a lot of needs in terms of their structures and facilities so we thought this would allow them to take some of that off their plate and allow them to focus on their core task which is feeing hungry families here in Visalia."
It's been years since the food pantry has seen a fresh coat of paint. That's on the list along with new doors front and back, fans, fixtures, cabinets, carpeting and a bathroom makeover. "Our bathroom had a toilet and sink falling apart. So they're gonna remodel our bathroom," said Iris East.
Lowe's decided to add a couple of surprises to the list including a community garden. The crew installed a watering system first before planting tomatoes plus orange, lime and peach trees.
Eric Locke says Lowe's may be a big company but it prides itself on being a community business. "Once you see the work that they do and you see the passion they have for work in the community then it was easy for us to get on board with them."
The Visalia Emergency Aid Council now has a new look. Some of the veteran staffers couldn't believe their eyes. "For some people who have been here fifteen years I know two of the gals in our office cried."
The final surprise by Lowe's was a large collection of food for the pantry donated by employees at its two Visalia stores.
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