The project was completed in early February 2022

ATASCADERO — At the beginning of the year, the Kiwanis Club of Atascadero donated a complete kitchen remodel to Meals That Connect. The project was completed in a week, and the kitchen at the Atascadero Senior Citizens Center (which is used by Meals That Connect in the North County) was completed in early February 2022. 

Many members of Kiwanis help Meals That Connect deliver meals to local home-bound individuals. Including the elderly, physically disabled, veterans, and wives and widows of veterans. That’s how Kiwanians Tony Villa, Glen Casey, and Ben Mendoza uncovered and spearheaded the remodel.

“Ben Mendoza, who owns Mendoza Meat. He’s also a Kiwanian, asked me to go in and take a look at the kitchen, and it needed a lot of work,” said Kiwanian, Tony Villa.

Getting through this together, Atascadero

Though most of the food is cooked in the main Meals That Connect kitchen in San Luis Obispo (SLO), lots of prep work, packaging, and the heating of food happens in Atascadero before being delivered to the people who need it in our community.

“Our focus, generally is the youth, but when we see something that needs to be done in the community, we go ahead and do it,” said Glen Casey, who’s in charge of Community Services at Kiwanis. 

Liz Dunn, the North County site manager for Meals That Connect, was asked by Villa what she would wish for if she had a wishlist. Dunn simply asked for help cleaning and painting the kitchen space, but Villa decided that wasn’t enough and took the kitchen remodel project to Kiwanis. After a trip to the site by Casey, Mendoza, and Villa, it was decided that the entire kitchen would be remodeled, free of charge.

“So what we did, we did a complete removal of everything in the kitchen. Put new floors down, replaced some sheetrock that was necessary, brought in new countertops, brought in new cabinets. We were able to ascertain two industrial stainless steel sinks. So we did a complete revamp of the whole kitchen area. From floors to everything,” added Villa. 

The Atascadero Kiwanis Club currently has close to 100 members, and 28 of the members worked and contributed to the project. 

“Getting people involved with something as important as this is a really, really good feeling,” said Casey.

Casey had a relationship with the people at Home Depot from a previous project. And when prompted, Kiwanis put together a grant proposal to Home Depot to help with the project. But, sadly, they were denied. But Home Depot ended up providing discounted pricing and some free items anyway.

“We had about a $4,000 to $5,000 budget that we had asked Home Depot for; the local Atascadero store donated half of it, thanks to Assistant Store Manager, Jacob Long. They’re very generous, very community-oriented,” stated Casey. 

In addition, Sherman Williams donated all of the paint, and Idlers removed all the large appliances that were no longer working. The Kiwanis Club provided the sinks, floors, and more, including all of the labor. The Club also fixed up and updated the plumbing and electricity in the kitchen. 

“It’s a good place to go see, first of all, what Kiwanians do for the community. Second of all, what they [Meals That Connect] do for the community by delivering food,” said Villa. “And that’s the major thing, what they do. Not what we do. We enjoy doing stuff like this.”