Champaign County shelter undergoes $85K remodel

A Champaign County homeless shelter has been remodeled with grant money from the Ohio Department of Development.

Renovations were made to the Caring Kitchen, 300 Miami St. in Urbana, at a cost of more than $85,000, Executive Director Marilyn Cohn said.

“We hadn’t been remodeled completely since the shelter opened in 1991,” Cohn said.

Floors were replaced in the dining room, bedrooms and bathrooms, she said. The entire shelter was painted, she said, and new cabinets and a walk-in freezer were installed in the kitchen.

“We needed a new freezer and it’s just amazing,” Cohn said.

The shelter previously used several freezers to hold the food needed to serve visitors.

The remodel took about six weeks, she said.

The shelter serves nearly 150 people a day in its soup kitchen for lunch and dinner, Cohn said. It also has room for 17 people to stay at the shelter overnight.

It’s consistently full, she said.

The food pantry and soup kitchen at the shelter saw a big increase in need in 2015, Caring Kitchen employee Edith Kastl said.

It served at least 10,000 more people more in 2015 than in 2014, Kastl said. The increase in need may be because people have fallen out of the job market, she said.