Linked Hearts Emergency Food Pantry renovation project coordinator Dick Martiny discusses areas of improvements they’d like to make at the pantry’s storage facility.

Monetary donations, manpower & materials welcome

DRYDEN — Weathering the past year has been challenging for many as the global pandemic impacted day-to-day life.

But just like the weather, things change and as always, springtime brings the promise of renewal and rebirth. And of course, to-do lists and spring cleaning.

Linked Hearts Emergency Food Pantry has such a list. After opening its doors to the entire Dryden community throughout the COVID-19 crisis, the community has a chance to return the favor to help Linked Hearts with a refurbishing project that’s been on their books for a while now.

Project coordinator Dick Martiny says they’re looking to rehabilitate the pantry’s storage building—which has been described as “a blessing but an eyesore.”

The building, located just west of the Main Street pantry, is currently used to house a freezer for meat donations and miscellaneous storage.

“It’s quite dilapidated and we want to refurbish it so it looks nice for the community,” Martiny says. “We’ve had such great generosity in the past from the community so we thought we’d put it out there to see if people want to step up and help us out.”

Martiny says they’re hoping to have the wooden facade of the building sided, painted and caulked, and outfitted with new soffits. They’re also looking for a carpenter for minor repairs and a mason to shore up the building’s cement block foundation. Eventually, they hope to recondition the rear of the building, which is made of metal.

Linked Hearts volunteers are hopeful that they’ll meet these goals, Martiny says, as since the pantry’s inception in 2008, things have always come together with perfect timing.

“I like to call it ‘Divine Orchestration,’” he says with a grin. “The creation of Linked Hearts was so amazing to watch. A tremendous door opening one after another by God’s provision. As soon as there was a need, there was a door opened for us. We had funds come in, people volunteered. It has been just astounding.”

Any and all assistance toward the project is welcome and appreciated, Martiny says.

“A basic facelift and small repairs are what the pantry hopes for at this time,” says a post on the Linked Hearts Facebook page. “Also the building is in need of a new roof, but that may be a project for another time. Of course, cash donations specifically for this project would always be welcome. But if you are a professional carpenter, or a vinyl siding installer, a mason, please let us know if you can help. If you know someone else who might donate part or all of their labor and/or materials we’d love to speak with them.”

To donate funds, make checks payable to Linked Hearts Food Pantry and specify ‘restoration project’ in the subject line. To help with other areas of the project email Martiny at rmartiny@live.com.

For more information about Linked Hearts Emergency Food Pantry call 810-796-3407. The pantry is located at 5595 E. Main Street downtown.

Catherine Minolli is Managing Editor of the Tri-City Times. She began as a freelance writer with the Times in 1994. She enjoys the country life, including raising ducks and chickens.