The Northeast Iowa Food Bank has built a new facility to house a distribution center, kitchen, food pantry and agency shopping area. This new facility will allow us to more efficiently and effectively meet the increasing needs of the hungry throughout the 16-county area we serve. The new building will allow us to:
- Provide more nutritious food
- Access additional food and grocery resources
- Increase the amount of food distributed by nearly two million pounds within three years
- Give Pantry Clients multiple food options to select from while shopping for their families
- Prepare meals in an onsite kitchen for Kids Cafe and other programs for children
It is estimated that we serve 40,000 different people annually. Nearly 40 percent are children and almost 10 percent are senior citizens. We currently administer six necessary programs providing more than 5 million pounds of food to the community each year.
According to the USDA and Feeding America, 12.5 percent of the population in our service area are food insecure – meaning they do not know where they’ll get they’re next meal. Of those, 40 percent do not qualify for any government benefits, meaning they are working above minimum wage jobs and still are unable to make ends meet.
Before moving into our newly constructed facility, often times truckloads of fresh produce or frozen meat product were turned away due to a shortage of refrigeration and freezer storage. Recently, in our new space, we were able to accept 3 truckloads of donated food in one day, something that could never have been done in the past. With the new warehouse, we anticipate being able to receive an additional 500,000 pounds of product per year, reaching nearly 7 million pounds of product within three years of the facility being operational. Here are some important details about the new facility:
- The building is in the Rath neighborhood across the street behind the former Rath administration building as part of the new Human Service Campus, just blocks from the old facility.
- The building is approximately 45,000 square feet with a kitchen, client choice food pantry, nonprofit agency shopping area and volunteer sorting room.
- The facility contains larger refrigeration and freezer space to more adequately store perishable product until distribution is arranged with member agencies, pantry clients, etc.
- A kitchen is now onsite enabling us to prepare meals for Kids Cafe in one central location, eliminating trips back and forth between different sites.
- The building enables food pantry clients to have many food choices so they can select what is best for their families instead of taking home a bag of random food items.
- The space will be used in a much more efficient manner, as the old facility utilized the same space for shipping, receiving, and a volunteer area, which forced us to move product five or six times, keeping us from focusing on feeding the hungry.
To date, the Food Bank has raised over $6.3 million. We need your help to raise the last $75,000 to continue to serve those in need. Hunger does not need to live among us. We can work together to offer the facility needed to meet the needs of our neighbors today, and into the future, whatever it brings.