A downtown Kingston nightclub could soon be transformed into a food distribution hub for the homeless.
On Tuesday night, city council will be asked to approve spending thousands of dollars to help Lionhearts Inc. move into Stages nightclub. The pandemic has forced the Princess Street building to sit empty for months but that could change.
Travis Blackmore is the founder and executive director of Lionhearts Inc.
“We know this pandemic won’t last forever, but we do know that we need to get people through this piece of time till next spring,” Blackmore said. “That’s what’s here right in front of us right now.”
Lionhearts Inc is a non-profit organization that feeds those in need and has done so at McBurney Park since the pandemic began. Winter a Kingston winter coming, Blackmore says an indoor facility like Stages would be ideal.
“We were running out of options and they’ve just been nothing but hospitable to help us move inside,” Blackmore said. “And honestly, that probably saved our program.”
The $39,000 from city council will be used to pay for rent for the next six months at Stages so the organization can run its meal package and distribution centre.
A numbers of businesses in the area shared their thoughts with Global News about a potential new neighbour.
“I have no objection at all. It’s for a good cause,” said Brian Lipson, owner and operator of Brian’s Record Option. “Stages is empty, anyways. I’m sure Stages will be shown they’re doing something good. And as long as they don’t loiter, I’m sure everything is fine.”
Brennan Mitchener is the night supervisor at Dairy Queen.
“I think everyone deserves a chance to eat, however you need to do it. If you can’t afford it this is a great way for people to do it — it’s a warm place,” Mitchener said.
“Just as long as there’s the social distancing and there’s proper guidelines in place to not infect the area here, I don’t see a problem. Everyone needs to eat.”
The re-purposed building would also be used by Kingston Street Mission for its drop-in program.