Good Neighbor to remodel, expand kitchen

A migrant girl enjoys lunch Thursday at Good Neighbor Settlement House in Brownsville. (Ryan Henry/The Brownsville Herald)

Knocking down walls, expanding, buying new ovens, microwaves and prep tables are now in the works at the Good Neighbor Settlement House after the non-profit received a grant of $175,000 through the Valley Baptist Legacy Foundation that will help with the expansion and improvement of their kitchen.

Hugo Zurita, executive director at the Good Neighbor Settlement House, said the grant was much needed since the kitchen has never been remodeled and does not hold enough space to have prep tables and other applianches such as ovens that would make it easier to serve healthier options to the community.

“We approached them and applied for it because our meal program is the heart of our organization, that’s what we’re known for providing breakfast, lunch and dinner for the community here in Brownsville,” he said.

“Our kitchen is pretty small, is not the biggest and is not suited for us to be able to do bigger meals and cook more, so just having one stove that worked at that time was really difficult for us to be able to feed so many individuals. Our numbers did double through our meal program during the pandemic, so we were really happy that we were really happy that we were able to get those funds.”

Zurita said the plan is to be able to better assist the community with their needs. The remodelation will also include an expansion to the kitchen pantry, allowing the Good Neighbor to take more donations and have them organized for faster access.

“The plan is to be able to better assist our community so we don’t have an oven, so now we are able to purchase ovens to be able to bake stuff and make stuff a little bit healthier,” he said. “We do breakfast, lunch and dinner so there’s times that while we are doing breakfast we have to prepare lunch and when we are doing lunch we have to prepare dinner, we really don’t have the space.”

Zurita added that the settlement house also received support from Valley Day and Night Clinic and raised over $11,000 during Giving Tuesday this year, funds that are being used for the kitchen renovation. Good Neighbor serves approximately 500 residents weekly.

“We are here to help, we don’t ask why you’re getting the services, we’re Good Neighbor so we try to be a good neighbor to the community and that’s what we are and we are here to assist anybody that needs our assistance,” he said.

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