Tim Eaton renos were ‘labour of love’ for volunteers

Justin Crann
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For more than a week, Huguette Okerstrom and a team of volunteers worked hard to revitalize Timothy Eaton Gardens’ kitchen.

A pair of volunteers work in the new kitchen at the Timothy Eaton Centre during its public re-opening following a full renovation.

By the time they were finished, the space had new flooring, freshly painted walls and brand new kitchen equipment.

“It’s a completely different kitchen,” Okerstrom, co-ordinator of Moose Jaw and District Seniors, said on Thursday at the centre’s re-opening celebration.

“All of the walls were painted, we had to move out all of the old furniture and equipment … and the floor — all of the old, rotting tiles were lifted, we laid a new subfloor down and then the new tiles. Then we put everything back and all of the new equipment in.”

Almost all of the kitchen’s appliances were replaced, with the exception of the cooler and cash register. But the new units make keeping the space sanitary a lot easier, Okerstrom said.

“They never used to make equipment to be moved so you could clean behind it, so there was a lot of messiness behind a lot of it. These days, everything’s on wheels so it’s a lot easier to get behind it and keep it clean, and you can really see the difference,” she explained.

The renovations were made possible by a $25,000 grant from New Horizons for Seniors, a program of the Canadian federal government. The Moose Jaw Early Bird Lions also contributed $5,000 to the work, as well as some assistance and professional connections.

Okerstrom said the project was a lot of the hard work, but that work is paying off because the seniors who were confused and disappointed when the kitchen space was closed for more than a week are happy with the results.

“It’s wonderful, and the seniors are tickled. They found it hard that the centre was closed for a week,” she said. “But I think when they walked in yesterday and saw the place looking like a shiny new penny, they understood why.”

For Okerstrom, the project was especially important. “First impressions are a big, big thing … (and) I believe the centre and the people who are here deserve a nice kitchen,” she explained. “It was truly a labour of love.”

Find Justin Crann on Twitter.

Organizations: Moose Jaw Early Bird Lions

Geographic location: Moose Jaw, New Horizons

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