Sister Jean’s Kitchen in Atlantic City, which provides lunch for the homeless and poor on weekdays, is set to reopen Wednesday.
The facility, which is located in the Victory First Presbyterian Deliverance Church on Pacific Avenue, has been closed since July 16 for floor-and-wall repairs in the kitchen.
“We actually replaced one-third of the kitchen floor,” said Rev. John Scotland, who runs Sister Jean’s Kitchen. “That area was totally soaked over the last 15 years. It’s where the dishwasher and the 3-hole sink is, and it just got continually soaked with water.
“The kitchen at the church, it was not originally a commercial kitchen. The floor just became really dangerous. It was rotten underneath.”
Scotland said the work was done for free by various local contractors. Network Construction, of Pleasantville, using carpenters from Locals #225 and #77, removed the floor and installed a subfloor.
BFC Ltd. Flooring Contractors of Egg Harbor Township and members of Tile Setters Local #7 did the tile work.
Scotland said the contractors ended doing more work than was originally planned.
“They ended up having to tear up more floor and a section of wall dividing the kitchen and the store room,” he said. “We were supposed to be closed for one week but they went beyond their scope and repaired everything.”
The kitchen was supposed to open Monday, but the date was pushed to Wednesday.
Scotland has been working with Sister Jean’s Kitchen since 1997 and he’s been helping to run the kitchen since Sister Jean Webster’s death in January 2011.
The loss of Webster has had a great impact on the overall fundraising, he said.
Some large gifts at the end of 2011, including about $25,000 from the Mack family, who owns the McDonald's in Atlantic City, are keeping the kitchen afloat, Scotland said.
The kitchen feeds 350 to 400 people a day in the summer, he said.
“They went different places: Rescue Mission, Salvation Army,” said Philly Miller, a laborer and server at the kitchen. “There are other places to go. But they do miss this.”
“I just did our new budget for the coming year,” Scotland said. “We’ve reduced the budgets of what we’ll receive from individuals by about 20 percent because I think Jean was more of a fundraiser than people realized, the way she got the word out and told people.
“We’re still hurting from not having her around. I don’t do as good of a job as she did.”
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