Talbot House is thrilled to announce that its kitchen and dining room expansion is officially complete!

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The kitchen’s new walk-in cooler allows Talbot House to accept additional donations of meat, dairy products, and produce. These donations help kitchen staff plan exciting menus and redistribute more food with less waste. New ceilings, flooring, and fixtures also make our kitchen look clean and professional.

“The Annex,” as the new dining room expansion has been called, has already hosted several large community groups including Leadership Lakeland Class XXXVIII and Southeastern University MSW students, as well as staff meetings and trainings. Our guests and residents enjoy being able to use the space during meal times to escape the heat, sit on the screened in porch, or have quiet time to themselves.

As renovations progressed, it became clear that our emergency shelter restrooms were also in need of extensive work. Talbot House was able to successfully raise funding to replace faulty plumbing and ensure that our guests could enjoy a safe, hot shower during their stay with us.

During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, before vaccinations were available, Talbot House residents and guests struggled to social distance within the original dining room area. Small groups ate separately, and the dining facilities were sanitized in between each shift. Additionally, demand for food tripled and Talbot House found itself struggling to meet the needs of its food insecure community. These expansion projects allowed us to meet current needs and be positioned to adapt to future challenges.

We are so grateful to all the community supporters who made this project possible: the Polk County Board of County Commissioners, the George Jenkins Foundation, Publix Super Markets Charities, and other private donors.

We continue to serve more than 300 meals a day to those who are hungry. If you haven’t yet seen the new facilities yourself, we encourage you to stop by for a tour or volunteer!