PADUCAH, Ky. (AP) — Plans are cooking for the new location of Martha's Vineyard, but there remains much to be done before the first meal is served.
Founder Martha Bell and other volunteers are working to transform the former home of Sulli's Steak House, 900 N. 32nd St., into a kitchen and dining area for the charitable organization, currently on 12th Street.
"There are a lot of things you have to do before you can ever think about cooking," Bell said.
Although the site has now been cleaned, Bell said she seeks donations of tables and chairs for the dining room.
Before the kitchen can become operational, the natural gas will have to be hooked up, new wiring must be installed, and the health department needs to inspect the premises.
"(We want) to make sure everything's operating correctly and everything's safe. That's my big thing. I want everything to be safe," Bell said.
Bell said the work should be finished within a couple of weeks.
Bell hired Wagner Moving & Storage to help relocate the heavy equipment, such as refrigeration units and stoves, while volunteers have spent their Saturdays moving the smaller items and helping to prepare the kitchen.
Local real estate agent and developer Mary Sue Brooks purchased the building in the spring and decided to lease it to Bell for $1 a year, the Sun reported in May.
Brooks declined to comment.
Bell said the new building will offer several benefits, including more space than the current location, where items have to be moved to accommodate meals.
"We have to clean out just the space to eat, and she (Brooks) said, 'You deserve better,'" Bell said.
Bell hopes to bring expanded services to the location, as well. That would include twice-monthly visits from a nurse, and possibly a recreational area and a cream soda bar, she said.
"I think it's just going to be a wonderful thing once we get in there and get going. We'll really know how we can put to use all we have," she said.
Meanwhile, Martha's Vineyard continues to operate out of its 12th Street location. Once the new kitchen opens, Bell will use the old building to accept more donations of furniture, clothing and medical equipment to pass on to people in need.
The organization has cooked and delivered meals to veterans, the disabled and the elderly for nearly 24 years, Bell said. She emphasized that it employs no paid staff; volunteers do all the work.
"It's just the Christian thing to do. Everybody works together to produce what we have to have," she said. "God has never failed us yet, and he's always there."
Information from: The Paducah Sun, http://www.paducahsun.com