After two years of construction, the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen (TASK) revealed its bigger and brighter Escher Street headquarters during a Spring grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Along with a commemorative slice of cake, nearly 100 visitors were treated to tours of the renovations, TASK’s meal service and self-sufficiency programs. Flanked by soup kitchen trustees, patrons and staff, TASK Executive Director Joyce E. Campbell welcomed local dignitaries and community leaders to the May 3rd reveal of the $2 million capital improvement project dubbed “Building into the Future.”
After serving millions of meals, the original TASK building named for long-time trustee Edward Gilman and former Executive Director Rev. Arthur Stanley who spearheaded the first build in 1991, had seen better days. Additionally, as TASK patrons required more services, the facility needed more space. Launched in 2017, the building project included updates to the dining room, and a 3,300 square-foot addition that houses a large multipurpose room, a kitchenette, staff offices and an open sitting space staff have affectionately nicknamed “the Google Room.” The space is a favorite study nook for patrons enrolled in the Adult Education and Workforce Preparedness program with furnishings similar to those found at the search engine giant’s headquarters.
“We’ve come a long way from when this place was first built in 1991 and even farther from our early days of moving from place to place around the city, serving soup and butter sandwiches,” Campbell said. “This is a great milestone for us – one that allows us to keep doing what we do in a beautifully designed and uplifting space. I think Gilman and Stanley would be proud.”
Campbell thanked project contributors as well as the community and patrons who hung in there and continued to visit TASK throughout the construction. The soup kitchen remained open during the entire process, providing continuity while enabling patrons to enjoy a meal and use the new spaces as they were completed – Google Room included.
In a poem she penned for the occasion, Campbell succinctly captured this two-year journey that has now, come to an end:
Build, construct, add-on, renovate
Cement, metal, sheetrock, paint
Light, color, clean, refreshed
Feed hope, dignity, community
at its best.