BROKEN ARROW — More than 100 people attended the dedication of Broken Arrow Neighbors’ new 10,000-square-foot building Thursday.
The $1.2 million facility, which is three times as large as the old building, had been under construction since January.
Broken Arrow Neighbors provides emergency assistance services — such as food, financial assistance, medical care and clothing — to about 12,000 people a year. The new building is expected to allow the organization to increase services by 5 percent to 7 percent.
Executive Director Kim Goddard got emotional several times during her remarks Thursday.
“I’m so humbled that God chose me to be part of his glorious plan for Broken Arrow Neighbors,” she said.
Ford and Goddard stressed that, because of strong support from numerous donors, the building was completed debt free. Goddard said the new facility will mean the organization has the capacity to store its entire supply of food in one place. The extra space will also allow for fresh produce to be offered to clients.
“Our clients will now be able to self-shop in the food pantry,” Goddard said. “We are hopeful that this will reduce waste.”
Previously, food bags were distributed to clients.
The food pantry features a variety of shelves, with labels placed at the top of each shelf in a supermarket style. Everything from fresh produce to pasta to soup can be found. Some shelves are reserved for health and hygiene products, and one holds baby food.
The new building also includes a WIC office and a dental clinic with two exam rooms. Goddard said she hopes the free dental clinic will be in full swing soon.
Monday will be the first day the organization operates out of the new building.
Ford said not all the space will be used immediately.
“We still have room to grow,” she said. “We were definitely looking toward the future.”
Broken Arrow Neighbors hopes to eventually operate a soup kitchen, as well as host a community garden. Goddard said the organization is considering planting the garden on the property where the old building is located. That building is expected to be demolished by the end of this month.
Those attending the dedication, including a variety of city and business leaders as well as volunteers, toured the building after the ceremony.
Longtime Broken Arrow resident and Broken Arrow historian Clarence Oliver spoke at the dedication, recalling Broken Arrow Neighbors’ beginnings more than 30 years ago as a food pantry operated by a church in a trailer in its parking lot.
“Then the community began to rally around it,” he said.
Goddard said the community support that helped the organization get off its feet continues to this day, and she thanked “the village” that helped make the new facility a reality.
The new building is at 315 W. College St. Hours for basic services are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday, with some evening hours for special services on Mondays.