Gunnison Congregational Church Gets Creative with In the Mud Grant

Dear friends and supporters,

Gunnison Congregational Church is so grateful for the funds you supplied to help develop our Co-Working Office Space (COS for short). We started off very energetically on our project! We have repaired and patched. We insulated against the cold. We ran updated electricity, placing outlets on the interior walls, and ran the wire through conduits on the concrete wall. The walls and ceiling have been textured and painted. We have new ceiling lights. We installed vinyl plank flooring. The space was beginning to look lovely. We are very proud of our efforts.

Here are the detailed phases of construction,

  • Ceiling insulation contractor and materials for the COS ceiling
  • Framing, fasteners, insulation, foam, and caulk for west wall, window openings
  • Sheetrock, fasteners, tape, mud, and texture for COS walls, ceiling
  • Flooring materials and contractor for installation of vinyl floor covering
  • Painting the COS, Day of Service with WCU students
  • Soffit venting on west wall roof
  • Back door security bolt
  • Locksets for keyed entrance for alley and COS doors, hide-a-key for tenant

We were starting to consider which furniture might be appropriate to offer with the office space that we hoped to rent out to other like-minded charities in our community. Unfortunately, right at that time, the Covid-19 Coronavirus became a big issue. All businesses in Gunnison were shutting down, under mandatory social distancing rules. The other small organizations, which we might have hoped to entice to rent a shared office space, were either closed, or working with single volunteers at a time, and could not imagine moving office. We halted our efforts and pondered what to do.

Meanwhile, another opportunity presented itself. The Gunnison Food Pantry put out a plea for storage space. They were struggling to meet the needs of their normal clientele, and suddenly many more Gunnison workers who were suddenly without income. Gunnison Congregational has been long time supporters of the Food Pantry, and they benefit from our Alternative Gift Fair every year. They are also, very literally, our neighbors in the 3 rd block of N. Main St. We felt that their efforts are certainly in close alignment with our mission. We wanted to do what we could to ease the suffering of those in our community without income. We had empty space for which we couldn’t find renters, and our good neighbor desperately needed space for additional food storage.

The church council voted to offer our Co-Working Office Space to the food pantry for a few months. We changed some door locks, to keep the areas separated. We covered our new floor with tarps. A very large truck arrived, and volunteers moved a large shipment of shelf-stable food items into our space.

 During this time, our church worship space and office space have been mostly closed. We have been having worship services via Zoom. We offer recorded services to those unable to use Zoom. The church building has been all too quiet.

The food pantry applied for a grant to help cover storage costs. Thankfully, they did receive a grant and have asked to rent the space from July to the end of 2020, at $350/month. While this isn’t what we planned for the space, it will provide some income in this lean period, and we are helping to feed our community. This 400 square foot area is getting daily use, during the week, from the food pantry. Trusted volunteers come in via the alley, using their own key, and take hand carts of food a short distance up the alley to the food pantry.

We received two grants. We have completely consumed the first grant. We have spent all but $1000 of the ‘In the Mud’ grant. It has helped us to reach for our goal and has enabled us to meet an unexpected but urgent need for food security in our community. We believe we have been good stewards of these funds and have consumed them wisely. We still have big dreams for this area of our building to be a Co-Working Office Space and are reserving the last $1000 to invest in office furniture. That final expenditure will take place in 2021. We hope you are pleased with what we have accomplished, and our plans. We hope that our efforts meet your approval.

With Sincere Gratitude,

Marti Peterson
on behalf of the Gunnison Congregational Church Council
Gunnison Congregational Church, UCC

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