Starting Points gains new territory
by Joshua Clark
Starting Points, which offers a variety of family-friendly services in Morgan County, recently requested a new area for a kitchen.
With the upcoming move by the Senior Center to a location by U.S. Silica, this frees up real estate in the county-owned Community Service Building at 187 South Green Street.
Brought up at the weekly County Commission meeting, Starting Points anticipates a grant of $5,000 for community kitchen costs at the new facility. This grant has been tabled until March 8.
Audrey Morris, Executive Director for Starting Points, also brought the request to occupy the current space of the Boys and Girls Club of Morgan County.
Motions were passed confirming the use of the space when it becomes available.
“We hope to use one of the two activity areas for a larger space for people to eat and socialize, as well as a place to store and prepare food,” said Morris. “The other is to create a safe space for family centered services.”
Starting Points hopes to use donations and volunteer hours to help with the monthly cost of utilities.
Brenda Hutchinson of the Commission is in favor of charging no more than what the Boy’s and Girl’s Club is currently paying for use of that space.
“What’s the point of moving if you aren’t going to receive the benefit of less overhead?” asked Hutchinson.
Morris agrees, stating that reduced overhead would allow for continuation and expansion of community services.
“We could have office space anywhere,” she said, “”but because of the kitchen we really need a place that can accommodate deliveries.”
Original consideration had been given to using the original Senior Center kitchen in place, but this area proved inadequate for community needs.
“There were major safety concerns with the Boys and Girls Club and Starting Points being housed on the same floor,” Morris said. “The logistics of 80-100 children running around while people are trying to get a hot meal just didn’t work.”
On the other hand, the local Boy’s and Girl’s Club’s feelings are unanimous: “woo-hoo!”
The new location is a dream come true for them, said Chris Risinger.
“We’re going from a 2,000-ft. area to a 10,000-ft. site. Right now, we have a single multipurpose room that we use for a Learning Center, club room and for meals. We’re extremely pleased to have designated rooms for different activities.” Risinger said.
Having room to grow was also a major concern. They have been almost at capacity for years, but now can bring in as many kids as they want and increase their programming.
Starting Points is a facility which tries to fill gaps within the community and those with need by providing information and access to area families.