Anchor House receives large grant for roof

The exterior of Anchor House Family Assistance Center and Pantry in Seymour has received a lot of upgrades this year.

The building was painted, a new awning was installed over the entrance and exit to the food pantry and a mural was painted on the south side. That was done through grant funding.

The most recent project was putting a new roof on the building. A good chunk of that expense also was completed with grant funding.

Becky Voelz, local service manager for the southern part of the state for Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana, recently stopped by the facility at 250 S. Vine St. to present a check for $26,294 to Anchor House Executive Director Megan Cherry.

After Cherry configured money she had received from other sources, she presented the remaining amount to Voelz and then applied for a capacity grant through Gleaners. That’s what was awarded.

“Very, very thankful,” Cherry said. “Any time there’s something that we’re in need of, I at least ask because she may have a grant that I don’t know about that she can access or Gleaners may fund it and we don’t know, so it never hurts for me to tell her, ‘Hey, we’re in need of this.’”

When Voelz initially asked what Cherry could use money for, she said a new roof.

“The roof itself was necessary for structural safety,” Cherry said. “We had some leaks, and it was just old and needed replaced.”

Voelz said capacity grants can be awarded to pantries for projects such as putting on a new roof, paving a parking lot and purchasing a box truck with a refrigeration unit and a lift gate.

“Anything that’s going to help that pantry ultimately serve more neighbors, or in this case, keep them safe,” Voelz said. “We have that available to us through money that Gleaners had had donated, and it was to help make it so that pantries could feed more neighbors.”

Voelz said other entities offer capacity grants for pantries. For example, in the past, Anchor House was able to purchase a walk-in cooler and freezer with a Feeding America capacity grant along with a shed to store dry products and refrigerators with other grant funding.

“We get grant money wherever we can,” Voelz said. “When another grant comes around, then I can say to Megan, ‘Hey, we do have a new grant, so here’s the application. Put down what it is that you’re looking for. Make sure you’ve got the cost included and shipping and installation and taxes and all that stuff.’”

One exception with a capacity grant is it can’t be used for food, she said.

“It has to be used to build,” Voelz said. “The awning and things were to help the neighbors in inclement weather, so that’s capacity building. It makes neighbors feel better.”

Cherry said she’s especially grateful for Gleaners for all that it does for Anchor House. Besides the community food pantry, the nonprofit organization operates two homeless shelters in Seymour — one at the main campus and the other on Dupont Drive on the east side of the city.

“We definitely could not run as we do without Gleaners,” Cherry said. “Not only are we a Gleaners agency, but just because of the support they give us through grants and just little glitches that we go through as part of the process of operating that they walk us through.”

The new roof was installed by Royalty Roofing of Seymour.

Voelz said Gleaners was happy to help provide that for Anchor House.

“Anchor House is so needed in this area for everything that they do,” she said. “They are not just an agency. They are an anchor. They are a pantry partner. We started off calling it anchor pantries. An anchor pantry, we try to do one in each county. That’s one that other agencies can look to for how things are run. Should we have extra product, we can bring it here, and then the other agencies come and get it. Plus, they are first in line for any kind of grants that come along.”

As far as exterior upgrades, Cherry said Anchor House should be set for the foreseeable future. A new playground is being installed, so that will be the final piece of major improvements at the main campus.

Still, she will continue to look for funding opportunities to make improvements as they arise.

“You can be a great agency and be stagnant, but I just like doing the next thing,” Cherry said.