Tri-City Union Gospel Mission staff members were dreading the logistical nightmare of serving meals while the rotting kitchen floor is replaced.
That's when William Charles West offered to help.
The Kennewick general contractor stepped in to help the mission coordinate serving dinner for the two weeks of the kitchen renovation at the men's shelter in Pasco.
"They were certainly life savers," said Jerry Jones, the mission's food service manager.
The company helped the mission get permission to use the kitchen at the First Presbyterian church in Kennewick and organized donations to help set up a temporary kitchen and provide food during that time, Jones said.
On Thursday, the mission was preparing the warehouse across the street from the men's shelter to start serving as a temporary dining area on Monday.
Andrew Porter, the mission's assistant executive director, said they won't know the extent of the damage until the floor is pulled up.
"The whole floor has gone soft," Jones said.
The building is about 106 years old, Porter said. The floor is an immediate need, which is why the nonprofit isn't waiting until the new men's facility is built. Construction isn't likely to start on that until 2013.
The kitchen gets a lot of use. The mission served about 79,100 meals in 2011, up significantly from the 68,500 served the year before, Jones said.
The mission expects to serve dinner to about 140 people each day during the remodel, he said.
It will take about 41/2 hours to prepare dinner at the church, which normally would take three hours in the mission's kitchen, Jones said. The food will be driven from the church to the mission's warehouse, stored in donated insulated containers.
Because of the added time, Jones said they won't be able to cook breakfast or lunch. A continental breakfast including coffee and doughnuts will be offered instead, and snacks have been donated for during the day.
Continued food donations are needed, especially ground beef and cheese, he said.
To donate, go to the men's shelter at 112 N. Second Ave. in Pasco, mail donations to The Tri-City Union Gospel Mission, Box 1443, Pasco, WA 99301 or go to tcugm.org.