By Landon Bost
The Inter-Faith Council for Social Services’ new facility, IFC Commons, is officially open.
The building, at 110 W. Main Street, brings all the IFC’s non-shelter programs together under one roof for the first time in the nonprofit’s nearly 60-year history. More than 230 people attended the virtual opening of the facility Thursday evening.
The new space in Carrboro is about 16,500 square feet and includes a larger community kitchen and more refrigeration for the community market, all with an abundance of natural light and a design that will keep those who use the space out of the natural elements as much as possible.
“IFC Commons, just like its name, is a place that belongs to everyone,” IFC Executive Director Jackie Jenks said. “It was supported through the generosity of the community, and all are welcome here. We can’t wait until it’s safe to throw open our doors and welcome.”
The new building was the final project in the IFC’s strategic plan created 25 years ago, said IFC Executive Director Emeritus John Dorward. The agency started a $6 million capital campaign in 2017 to pay for construction of the commons. Seven hundred individuals, congregations, businesses and foundations, mostly from North Carolina, donated to the campaign.
“What we have we share,” Don Boulton, the honorary capital co-chair, said. “We have learned that caring means at home, and a new start. In 2012, the Inter-Faith Council began to think about all the real needs of our community. The community answered.”
The previous Community Kitchen was located in Chapel Hill’s Old Town Hall on Rosemary Street. The more spacious dining area at IFC Commons will allow for more community members to be served at one time, especially during busy hours such as lunchtime, officials said.
IFC is currently offering take-out meals with outdoor-seating in its courtyard because of coronavirus concerns.
“My wife Alicia likes to say she shows her love by the meals that she prepares,” Carrboro Mayor Lydia Lavelle said during the dedication of the space. “And that’s what I think about when I think about the opening of the IFC food-first building. This building is going to represent IFC loving our community. Certainly, with its kitchen, which will provide meals on a daily basis to those in need, but also with its expanded pantry and its programming. This sounds perfectly Carrboro to me and we welcome you.”