The Cannon Beach Food Pantry is finally home free.
Several dozen pantry supporters turned out the morning of Jan. 24 to make sure the move from the pantry’s former location at Cannon Beach Bible Church on Hills Lane to the pantry’s newest location — the portable structure on the west side of Cannon Beach Elementary School, 268 Beaver St. — was short, sweet and smooth. Four days later, at 3 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 28, the pantry was due to open for its weekly two-hour distribution of food boxes.
Well before noon last Saturday, volunteers from the pantry, the community, Coaster Construction, the city public works department, the Cannon Beach Police Department and Cannon Beach Fire and Rescue had already seen the food and furnishings safely to their new home.
Coaster, public works and Sleepy Monk Coffee Roasters each let the pantry load up one of their trucks.
The rows of tables in the carpeted section (now the pantry’s “registration room”) of the 1,710-square-foot space were quickly covered with bags of oatmeal; boxes of cereal; mac-and-cheese; packets of Ramen noodles; crates of potatoes and dried goods; cans of beans, fruits and sliced tomatoes; jars of spaghetti sauce; and other pantry essentials.
Over in the adjacent “packing room,” handymen and handywomen made quick work of setting up shelving units.
“Everything just fell into place,” said Molly Edison, the pantry manager. “Thank you, thank you, thank you to everybody.”
A grand opening is planned for next month at a date and time yet to be determined.
Since April 2009, the pantry had operated out of the Bible Church. Early last year, however, the church leadership asked the pantry to vacate its space by Jan. 31, 2015, to accommodate the church’s growing congregation.
Edison and the pantry volunteers looked all over town for a workable space before asking the Seaside School Board if it would be willing to let the pantry use the elementary school’s former library portable. The district had closed the school in June 2013.
In September, the school board offered to lease the space to the pantry rent-free. If the school board decides to sell the property, the pantry will have 90 days to relocate.
The city of Cannon Beach has pledged to give the pantry up to $10,000 to upgrade its plumbing and electrical equipment.
Meanwhile, Coaster Construction renovated the portable, including installing a bathroom. The American Legion donated tables. Sherwin-Williams in Gearhart donated the paints and Anderson Painting in Seaside did the interior paint job.
The total move-in costs are estimated at around $40,000, according to Edison and pantry volunteer Bill Brehm.
“It’s been a long haul, but it’s done, and it really looks nice,” Edison said.
Although Edison said she had “no doubt” that the pantry would secure a space before the clock ran out, it was really getting down to the wire. “We had to fight to get the place first,” she said.
The move-in effort drew community members who knew Cannon Beach well and those who were just getting their feet wet on the coast.
Frankie White and her husband, Rick White, moved to Cannon Beach about a month ago and were “looking for ways to get involved,” Frankie White said. Both of them showed up to unload trucks and help see the move through to completion.
John Backes and Robin Roberts, a married couple who live in Portland and have been coming to town since 1978, felt they could make a bigger difference in Cannon Beach than in the big city, Roberts said. They have been donating to the pantry for little more than a year.
“There’s such a disparity in (Cannon Beach). There’s all of the working people, and there’s all of the second homeowners,” Backes said. “There’s a real need here, I think.”
“I think this new space is wonderful” and “has such a good feel to it,” Roberts said.
“Hats off to Molly and her posse,” former Mayor Mike Morgan said. “Molly is a force of nature.”
“We haven’t missed a beat,” Edison said. “We’re going to continue to feed the hungry in our community.”