Charitable Contractors Overhaul Diakonia’s Kitchen

OCEAN CITY — Trying to feed the hungry can be difficult with an old kitchen, which is why Contractors For A Cause (CFAC) stepped up this fall to re-build the aged kitchen at Diakonia.

“It just goes to show the goodness of the community,” said Diakonia Executive Director Claudia Nagle.

CFAC are well established in Delaware but branched out into Maryland recently. The group quickly expressed an interest in working with Diakonia, which serves as a non-profit food pantry and transitional living area. CFAC followed up on that interest by proposing a three-phase construction project at the West Ocean City Diakonia location. A re-furbished kitchen was Phase 1 of that plan and Nagle didn’t mince words when describing the work CFAC did.

“It’s beautiful,” she said of the new kitchen, which features an extra door into the food pantry and a lot of stainless steel.

Re-building the kitchen at Diakonia involved more than what goes into re-tiling the dining area for the typical family. Diakonia serves a large volume of residents and families, meaning that there was quite a bit of space to deal with. The food pantry is also one of the largest and most visited in the area and is directly adjacent to the kitchen.

“It’s a very high traffic area … it’s the portal to services,” said Nagle.

According to Nagle, included in the remodeling were new floors, a new ceiling, new countertops and new surfaces. Much of the project went beyond the cosmetic and included repairs of the structure of the building.

“There were issues with the infrastructure of the floor,” said Nagle.

The project was funded through donations of materials with CFAC also donating all of the labor. Phases 2 and 3 are slotted to come next and finish the project and will involve the re-furbishing of some of Diakonia’s bedrooms and work on the aging HVAC system. According to Nagle, the property is certainly due for some care and attention. While Diakonia has regularly maintained the building, Nagle pointed out that it was originally constructed in 1929.

“It’s seen a lot of people and it’s heard a lot of stories,” she said.

Working to update an older building is an old trick for CFAC. The group is composed of area developers and contractors who want to turn their trade toward helping non-profits and other worthy causes. The efforts of the group in modernizing the Diakonia building are a clear example, in Nagle’s mind, of a community coming together.

“They’ve been raising money and they’ve been doing all of these things,” she said of CFAC.

Nagle also touched on the benefits of non-profit organizations working together for the good of people in the area. She underlined how willing individuals were to donate time or materials to the project, which ended up not costing Diakonia a cent.

“They got a lot of things donated…it’s an example of ordinary, good people doing great things,” said Nagle.

Contractors involved in the project include Beachwood Construction, Delaware Elevator, Carpets by the Ocean, Robert Frick Mechanical, and All States Construction. Numerous donations were made by the companies and the community, including stainless steel kitchen fixtures from Sunset Grille and paint from Sherwin Williams.

CFAC has an impressive reputation for helping both individuals in need and non-profit organizations in Delaware and has already begun to build a similar status in Worcester. According to CFAC President Jim Kyger, the move to Maryland last year was made specifically to help Diakonia as well as Worcester Youth and Family Counseling Services (WYFCS).

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