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Transforming Spaces and Nourishing Lives

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Sundram Manor Renovation: Transforming Spaces, Nourishing Lives

We are in the final phase of renovations at Sundram Manor, and the project promises to enhance our nutritional services and improve the overall experience for our residents. Over the years, Sundram Manor has been a cornerstone of support and growth for men with substance use disorders in Niagara Falls. However, the aging kitchen posed challenges with dated equipment and limited space, making it far more difficult to provide nourishing meals while encouraging those in our care to learn new, healthy, cooking practices. Recognizing the importance of a well-equipped and functional kitchen, we embarked on a project to transform and update Sundram Manor’s kitchen.

Sundram’s Transformation

The journey from a building with outdated facilities to a modern haven has been nothing short of remarkable. The kitchen has undergone a complete metamorphosis. It’s a journey that wouldn’t have been possible without the dedication of a passionate team led by Maura Baker, Reintegration Manager, and Tieshia Thomas, Lead Food Services Specialist. The challenges posed by the aging infrastructure were met head-on with innovative solutions. With grant support and meticulous planning, the team envisioned a space that would not only meet functional requirements but also radiate warmth and welcome. From the very beginning, the mission was clear: to create an environment that promotes wellness, fosters camaraderie, and ensures that nutritional services thrive.

Maura Baker, Reintegration and Tieshia Thomas, Lead Food Service Specialist

Navigating Challenges

The transformation of Sundram Manor brought us face-to-face with unforeseen challenges. This renovation not only had an impact on daily operations, but the health and stability of the residents became our main priority. Outdated electrical systems and the need for asbestos removal emerged as significant obstacles. Notably, our partnership with the City of Niagara Falls proved crucial during this phase, as we secured a $58,000 grant from the Community Development Block Grant funds to facilitate the safe removal of asbestos. The Sundram team worked diligently to navigate a longer-than-expected construction timeline. Maura has been at the forefront of this effort, and her insight and leadership give a unique perspective on how food insecurity can impact recovery. According to Maura, “It was really stressful. In an environment like this, food security is huge and some people didn’t have that walking in.” The lack of a full kitchen then brought up emotions and triggers around food security for some residents. “That was really difficult on the clinical side of things to kind of navigate,” Maura added. Despite this, Maura and her team offered the support and understanding necessary to make it through a difficult time.

Innovative Culinary Solutions: Nourishing Through Adversity

When faced with the challenge of an out-of-service kitchen, Tieshia’s determination and culinary expertise shone brightly as she navigated uncharted territories. As the heart and soul of Sundram Manor’s dining experience, Tieshia devised ingenious ways to provide diverse and satisfying meals, despite the limitations. “I kept the meals coming despite the ongoing renovations. I have to say, the residents’ input kept us going strong.” Her commitment to providing homemade meals for the Sundram Manor residents didn’t waver. Tieshia experimented with homemade pizzas and took advantage of the barbeque grill during the summer months. Her dedication brought a touch of normalcy to the challenging circumstances. Most importantly, she embraced the residents’ feedback and incorporated their preferences into her meal planning, ensuring that their voices were heard and their needs were met.

A Look Ahead: What’s Next for Sundram Manor

As the renovation project nears completion, Sundram Manor is on the cusp of a new chapter. With an upgraded kitchen and improved facilities, residents can look forward to an environment that’s even more functional and welcoming. The sense of community and support that has been cultivated during this journey will undoubtedly continue to flourish in the months and years to come.

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