House of Hope dedicates nutrition center to cherished local philanthropist

On the morning of June 30, House of Hope’s Stuart Service Center was filled with dozens of smiling faces waiting to honor the woman of the hour- Elisabeth Lahti.

Beyond the agency’s Client Choice pantry, a set of swinging doors leads into a room equipped with sparkling stainless steel countertops, sinks and commercial-grade appliances. The state-of-the-art kitchen environment is accented with a brightly colored plaque designating, The Elisabeth Lahti Nutrition Center.

The Center is named in honor of Elisabeth Lahti’s many years of support, which has been a driving force in House of Hope’s evolution. Onlookers beamed with admiration for the philanthropist standing before them cutting a large red ribbon. Once a social worker herself, Lahti’s passionate support continues to have a significant impact on House of Hope’s mission to empower Martin County residents to overcome hunger and hardship.

Cameras flashed and the excited chatter hushed as CEO Rob Ranieri addressed the guests. Welcoming everyone, he explained the purpose of the newly completed Clean Room kitchen and what it would mean for House of Hope’s thousands of clients. The Nutrition Center opens a new chapter for the agency and its expanded nutrition initiatives.

Now economically priced bulk food items will be reapportioned and/or prepared into fresh meals for food insecure households and homeless clients. A balanced variety of fruits and vegetables will be offered year-round through the pantries as the Nutrition Center brings the capability to blanch and freeze thousands of pounds of fresh produce gleaned seasonally from area farms.

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