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Palm Coast Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019 4 months ago

At volunteers' request, county delays demolition of food pantry building

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The Church Women United will have three months to find a new facility for the Resource Center, which is now housed in the former county jail building.
by: Jonathan Simmons News Editor

The food pantry operating out of the former jail building on Old Moody Boulevard, behind Fire Station 62, will have to leave — but not just yet.

The county plans to demolish the old building, but volunteers at the food pantry, run by Church Women United, asked county commissioners during a Jan. 14 commission meeting to delay the demolition for a few months so that the food pantry has time to find a new home.

Betty Roundtree, who'd founded the food pantry referred to as the Flagler Resource Center, addressed the commission first, thanking the county for the many years the county has provided the facility to the volunteers rent-free. She said she was "very disappointed" that the building would be torn down, but accepted it.

Another volunteer, speaking after her, said that although she understood why the county needed to tear down the building, the county could have notified volunteers earlier so they would have had time to search for other options. She asked for a delay and some help finding a new facility. The volunteers, she said, only need about 1,000 square feet.

Volunteer Barbara Royere acknowledged that the building itself is "deplorable." But, she said, "This is a mission that should not close. ... All I want you to do is see if you can delay it."

County staff members said that the county reached out to the volunteers once they knew that the building would be demolished, and that they've put together a list of 17 other food pantries in Flagler County, some of them nearby (see below).

Roundtree acknowledged that there are other food pantry options. She said that the Church Women United could use several months to see if there are other feasible locations. It's not just the physical displacement that's an issue, she said — the volunteers also can't afford to pay rent for a regular commercial space, so options are limited.

The County Commission decided by consensus to agree to the three-month delay and to have staff work with the volunteers to see where the pantry could be relocated. Staff will update the commission after one month.

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