03/25/2013 05:59 EDT | Updated 05/25/2013 05:12 EDT

NDG Food Depot faces surprise April 1 move

A west end food bank is scrambling after workers were informed last Friday they have to find a new home for April 1.

The NDG Food Depot, which provides emergency food baskets to Notre-Dame-de-Grâce residents, has stood at the corner of Oxford Street and de Maisonneuve Boulevard for 20 years.

Its staff found out earlier this year they’d have to move when the building’s owners informed them they intended to sell the building.

The food bank’s lease expires March 30, but the building’s owners had verbally agreed to let it stay until June 30.

So when post-dated rent cheques for its remaining three months were returned to director Kim Martin last Friday, she was surprised.

“We thought that we had reached a win-win situation with them where we would be able to stay and find a space,” she said.

“We thought it was in good faith. We’ve been here 20 years.”

The lower NDG location is a stone’s throw from the new McGill University Health Centre mega-hospital, which Martin suspects is playing a role in their premature move.

“It has everything to do with building condos,” she said.

The food bank, which serves over 700 people a week, will open temporarily in the basement of St. Philip’s church on April 15.

The bank will be closed for two weeks, and Martin predicts the move to its temporary location near the Montreal West train station will disrupt its clientele.

“It's not close the metro. We are right at the edge of our service area, toward Montreal West,” she said.

“Transport for people is always an issue. For some people, they walk, and they won't be able to walk to this location.”

The basement stairs may be an obstacle for people with mobility issues, as well.

NDG Food Depot volunteer and distribution coordinator Roderick Wilson said moving its headquarters will be the equivalent of moving a five- or six-bedroom house.

“We’ve got a big job to do, and if any members of the community can pitch in a pair of hands, that would really make a difference,” said Wilson.