DREHER TOWNSHIP—The Wayne County commissioners entered into a Local Share Account contract at their meeting on Thursday for a total of $136,886 to be available from March 29, 2017 to June 30, 2020.

Through the account, the commissioners will receive grant money collected through state gaming revenues for a food pantry construction project in the Newfoundland area.

Preliminary acceptance of the project came through in March, but the amount received was slightly less than had been applied for, so the county spent some time revising their proposal before committing to the contract.

At the meeting, Board of Commissioners Chairman Brian Smith stated, “I just wanted to extend our appreciation for all the funding that we do get out of the Local Share Account … Without this money, this project would not be happening.” He concluded by thanking all parties involved.

According to a later interview with Commissioner Wendell Kay, the need for the project originated when local non-profit group the Newfoundland Area Food Pantry approached the commissioners seeking help finding a facility from which to run their operation.

Kay said the group had been operating from two churches in their coverage area – first St. Anthony's, then the Moravian church – but the buildings were insufficient for their needs.

The food pantry was looking for an establishment which could allow for better temperature control and more secure storage access points.

Dreher Township offered part of its municipal property on which the building could be constructed provided grant funding could be obtained and the township could utilize the space when not in use by the food pantry.

Support for the project came not only from the Wayne County commissioners, but also from the Pike County commissioners, and the townships of Dreher, Lehigh, Stirling and Greene, stated Kay.

With the contract signed on the commissioners' end, it has been sent back to the state Department of Community & Economic Development for final approval.

Kay said the county engineer is already drafting a bid package so that the commissioners can advertise bids quickly after state approval comes in.

The group is hopeful to begin and possibly complete construction by the end of this season, stated Kay.

“We're excited about [the project] because it's a great joint venture,” he added. “It's really going to address a need in the community.”