The Journey Home in Murfreesboro, TN to receive a FREE Kitchen and Facility
Make-over, provided by the Restaurant Facility Management Association (RFMA)
The Restaurant Facility Management Association (RFMA), based in Plano, TX is a national association of facility professionals from major restaurant chains and franchisees, as well as the vendor companies who serve them. Through their charitable arm dubbed, RFMA Gives, association members from dozens of companies, including Darden Restaurants, Chipotle, Panera Bread, Rheem, Benjamin Moore and Cintas, have donated the needed materials, equipment and labor to undertake the remodel project at The Journey Home, estimated to be valued at $250,000.
Each year RFMA selects a non-profit food-service agency to receive a kitchen remodel for their member-driven RFMA Gives project. After an extensive search for candidates in the Nashville area - the site of the RFMA 2016 Annual Conference - RFMA selected The Journey Home, a non-denominational Christian charity that provides breakfasts, lunches, and suppers – 14 meals weekly - showers and laundry facilities to help maintain personal hygiene, and food boxes filled with a week’s worth of essentials, all at no cost for those in need. The Journey Home also provides personal item storage for clients to leave their things safely while they go to work, and a “clothes closet” is also there for children and adults. Case management, life skills coaching and assistance with finding jobs are all provided to help clients get on the path to independence. The organization also operates over twenty supportive housing units scattered throughout the county.
“Almost since we opened our outreach center in 2009, we’ve been bursting at the seams. Seeing on average 100 plus clients daily, we’ve overtaxed the building itself. And we have pushed all of the mostly used equipment that we’ve been able to assemble over the years, to the breaking point. It has served us well and we’re blessed to have had it. But this RFMA Gives renovation will allow us to serve so many more people, and with such increased efficiency, it’s hard to put a value on what it will ultimately mean to this community. It’s really quite overwhelming. The work that will be done through this project will be blessing folks for many, many years to come,” said Scott Foster, Executive Director of The Journey Home.
The Co-Project Managers for this year’s RFMA Gives project are Jim Roeger, Facility Manager with Olive Garden Restaurants and Gordon Bruner, Chief Manager with Knoxville-based VMC Facilities, LLC. Jeff Dover, CRFP, is the Facilities Resource Manager at RFMA and he will work hand-in-hand with Jim and Gordon and oversee the project to bring it to completion, prior to RFMA’s annual conference next March.
After meeting Foster and his staff and touring the facilities, Roeger, Bruner and Dover said it was clear that The Journey Home was the best fit for RFMA Gives. “They had gaping needs that RFMA Gives could immediately fill, and their needs could readily be met by the RFMA members who step up to contribute each year. We had the opportunity to make what they have better and give them the resources to expand their offerings,” said Dover.
The first step was for Dover and the project managers to perform a full site visit to create a wish list of projects. They also brought vendors to tour the facilities, as sometime our vendors see opportunities for them to help in areas the organization might not even think about or dare to ask for. Bruner knew from his experience working on the past four RFMA Gives projects, that once RFMA members learned about The Journey Home, they would become invested in wanting to help. As he predicted, vendors began volunteering their services during the site visits and on volunteer committee conference calls. New dining room tables and chairs have already been donated by Olive Garden and delivered personally by Roeger, who happens to also live in Murfreesboro.
Remodel work is scheduled to begin on September 12, when nearly 100 RFMA members will be on hand to landscape, paint, demolish walls and begin reconstruction of the restrooms and an interior staircase. Other project highlights will include a new walk-in freezer (something they currently don't have), roof replacement, asphalt repair and re-striping, stainless steel counters for the kitchen, dining room expansion with new ceiling, all new A/C units, lighting fixture replacement to upgrade to LED lighting and new small wares for the kitchen.
RFMA’s hope for this year’s project is the same as always, to have a positive and lasting impact on the organization’s ability to serve its clients. Whether it be through providing more capacity to allow them to serve more people, by providing a more inviting place to provide hope and help to those in crisis, or by reducing operating expenses through more energy-efficient equipment such as LED lighting, RFMA Gives hopes to keep on giving to The Journey Home for years to come.