Carpenter’s Corner President addresses controversy surrounding location change

BECKLEY, WV (WOAY) -Carpenter’s Corner has been serving free meals to downtown Beckley since 2004. They were looking for another building that they could call their own and came across the old Tudor’s Biscuit World building off of Robert C. Byrd Drive and 4th St. Oshel Craigo, the CEO for Tudor’s, agreed to donate the building to the nonprofit.

Although First Christian Church has been a good home for the Carpenter’s Corner, Michael Prunesti, the president of the nonprofit, says it is time for their own space which lead them to the old Tudor’s building where they will have ample parking, places for drop-offs and a place where they can create their own flow.

“We’re trying to help people and the community’s behind us,” Prunesti said. “I mean, they’re supportive of us. They know that what we’re doing is a good thing and so I think it makes us feel good too.”

But the organization still has hoops to climb through. Not everyone is on board with the move especially businesses and property owners near their new spot. Tom Sopher, a councilman for Ward 1 with the city, says he has heard from business people and property owners who do not want the ministry in the old Tudor’s.

“I need to think what’s best for the community and the neighborhood and I’m definitely on the side of the property owners that live and try to do business in that neighborhood for sure,” Sopher said.

Although the city does not have a say in the deal between Craigo and Carpenter’s Corner, Sopher is still concerned about property values near 4th St. He’s also heard the concerns of people near the ministry at their location now who say it is hard to buy and sell property and goods when they’re near a soup kitchen. This is why Sopher wants it to be moved elsewhere.

“The mission is wonderful. You know, we should always try to take care of the unfortunate,” he said. “There should be maybe a better place for the Carpenter’s Corner right now. Maybe somewhere located near Pine Haven Homeless Shelter would be maybe a better place.”

But Carpenter’s Corner says there have been very few issues at their location now as they feed 150 people a day and expect that to continue at their next place.

“So nobody will be lingering around or anything like that. We’ll just be open for two hours. They come in and eat their meal and they leave, so I don’t think it will be a problem,” Prunesti said.

Prunesti also said the new location will give them a chance to serve their regulars and reach a new group.

The deal between Craigo and the Carpenter’s Corner has not be finalized.

Tyler Barker
Tyler Barker is currently the News Director and Digital Content Manager for WOAY-TV. He was promoted to this job in Mid-November. He still will fill in on weather from time to time. You can follow Tyler on Facebook and Twitter @wxtylerb. Have any news tips or weather questions? Email him at tbarker@woay.com