Construction is well underway at the new community hub in Aldergrove that will help ensure people are fed.
Aldergrove Community Station House is being renovated as Langley’s Meals on Wheels (LMOW) takes over the space.
Before the building first served as a firehall starting back in 1959 and then in 2002, became the chocolatier, Milsean Shoppe.
Once the Milsean Shoppe closed its doors, the building was to be demolished. The community started a petition to keep the building for its heritage importance and turn it into something new which, is exactly what Meals on Wheel did.
How did the hub get its name?
Aldergrove – Location
Community – For the Community
Station – In honour of the original volunteer-built firehouse
House – concept of a neighbourhood house model
The hub is a partnership that includes LMOW, Sources BC, the Township, the Langley School District and Fraser Health Authority. Project partners include Sources Community Resources, Encompass Support Services, Langley Environmental Partners Society, Lower Fraser Valley Aboriginal Society, Langley Community Services, Stepping Stone Community Services, and more..
LMOW executive director Shannon Woykin said her team wants to make the hub a place for the whole community.
“We want this to be a building that has a little bit of everything for everyone, like a one stop shop,” Woykin said.
Langley Meals on Wheels has been delivering food to those in need in the Langley’s for the past 42 years. Currently meals on wheels has more than volunteers deliver about 150 meals to the doors daily.
“While seniors have predominantly been the recipients of our meal programs, our low barrier programs and access to food has expanded over the last few years to reach a broader demographic group – anyone in need regardless of age or living,” Woykin said.
The hub was the next evolution, creating closer ties with the various agencies and organizations to better serve the Aldergrove and wider Langley area. The intent is offering a multitude of services, connections to various local agencies and organizations, and barrier-free access to those who need the various services and amenities.
Areas in the 2,850 square foot building include, a front entrance with a serving station, a sitting area with tables, a kitchen with a walk-in freezer, multiple offices, an upstairs kitchen, and two areas with a washer and dryer.
Downstairs is designed for people to come in grab something to eat, sit at one of the tables and make conversation with the community.
“Tables are where conversation happens, and people need that,” Woykin added.
All food and snacks will be low cost, for everyone to enjoy, including nearby school children.
“Instead of kids going across the road to the corner store at lunch, we want to see them come here to have something like veggies and hummus,” said Woykin.
Upstairs, there is a large kitchen, equipped with everything people need to cook. Woykin explained that there’s going to be cooking classes, for people of all ages to learn how to cook and bake.
The office space will be available to the public, becoming a place where people can plug a computer in to do work and print things off if needed.
There are two different rooms with both a washer and dryer, for people to come with laundry.
“We have the washing and drying so, say, a mom needs to do the families laundry but can’t go to the laundromat, she can come here and do it for free,” said Woykin.
Some of the rooms will be used for counselling as well as other off-site programs by the various partner organizations.
Outside, there will be a community garden, growing all kinds of produce. Woykin remembered someone asking “What if people walk by and steal the veggies from the garden?”
“Take them, if you need it, take it, that’s what we’re here for,” added Woykin.
Woykin is looking forward to opening the doors and see the whole community enjoy the new hub.
“This is the first neighbourhood hub with all this, and I think the community is going to really enjoy it,” she said.