Board members

Board members

Construction starts for new Ruth & Naomi’s Mission

Construction of the new Ruth & Naomi’s Mission building on Fletcher Avenue is finally underway.

Construction of the new Ruth & Naomi’s Mission building on Fletcher Avenue is finally underway.

“We’re really excited,” said Mission founder Ted Stoker. “It’s been a long three years.”

When he and his wife Ann launched their faith-based street ministry in Chilliwack 16 years ago, a facility to feed and shelter the homeless was always part of the long-term vision, Stoker said.

“This is huge for us,” he added.

The building permit was issued last week, and Monday morning saw the dedication ceremony and

blessing at the building site.

“We’re starting this whole thing off right,” said Wayne Massey, chair of the Ruth & Naomi’s board of directors.

Construction of the new 8,000-square-foot building, with its tilt-up design, will take eight months to a year.

Plans and a building design have been ready to go for a few years. But the former dry cleaners’ site had to be environmentally remediated and a certificate of compliance issued before they could start building.

“We’ve also arranged it so that our guests will be

registered into addiction and mental health programs through the new Chilliwack Health Contact Centre, so there will be no duplication of services,” he said.

“We’re working to bridge the two entities.”

The approximate cost of the new Ruth & Naomi’s facility will be $1 million and the two-storey building will contain a commercial-grade kitchen, a dining hall for 150, as well as housing for 30 people.

The organization feeds about 100 to 150 people every day, and they plan to have the capacity to shelter at least 40 people in an emergency situation.

The timing of the building dedication was perfect on Monday, said Massey.It gives them the chance to remind everyone that Saturday, April 16, is the date of the annual Ruth & Naomi’s Mission Spring Fundraiser, at 6 p.m. at Chilliwack Alliance Church.

“This event will be focused on raising the operating expenses so we can continue to feed, shelter and clothe those most in need in our community.”