To better serve the needs of disadvantaged children in Quebec, Le Pignon Bleu has just started construction of a new kitchen in the St-Roch neighborhood near Lauberivière.
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According to Alain Rioux, responsible for the fundraiser and the construction of the new kitchen, the current Pignon Bleu kitchen can meet 70% of the demand.
Currently the organization feeds 9,000 children a day and it is not enough to meet the needs as the current facilities do not allow to do more.
The project involves the renovation of an old warehouse on De Xi’An Street at the corner of Du Pont Street. The 15,000-square-foot, three-story building will house the organization’s kitchen, family donation area and administrative offices.
Thanks to the new infrastructure, Le Pignon Bleu will be able to feed 11,000 children by the end of the year. Those responsible would have liked the new kitchen to be ready for occupancy in September 2022, but this will not be possible given the deadlines beyond their control.
“There are 22 schools that would need our services, but the small kitchen we have on rue Saint-Vallier, with two other kitchens that we are on loan to, we can serve 17 out of 22 schools. There are principals and teachers who call us because children have nothing in their lunch box and want to use our services, but unfortunately we cannot answer because we have no production capacity. So we started building a kitchen that will be the size of a gym,” said Mr. Rioux.
“Unfortunately, demand hasn’t dropped for thirty years. It’s terrible that there are 11,000 hungry children in our city.”
Half of the young people using the organization’s services are young immigrants aged 6 to 13 years. The new facilities could eventually fix up to 20,000 meals a day.
Work started in March. So far, the fundraiser has raised nearly $2.5 million. Monetary donations are possible, but so are building materials and working hours. The total cost of the project is approximately $3.5 million.
“We will get there, if not already next month then by the end of the year. We’ll have the money and the kitchen, it’ll work. There are no more children in Quebec who are no longer eating in schools in disadvantaged neighborhoods,” said Mr. Rioux, who thanked the donors and his partners.
Le Pignon Bleu is also recognized by Emploi-Québec as an integration company, particularly in terms of training staff in the hospitality industry.
Along with the YMCA, Lauberivière and Le Pignon Bleu, Mr. Rioux expresses the wish that one day this sector will be called Place de la solidarité.