Since 2008, the Regional Food Bank has experienced tremendous growth. Distribution has increased from 19 million pounds in 2008 to 36 million in 2016. This growth has significantly strained our facility. Because our distribution space is so limited, we struggle to move all the fresh food we receive through our warehouse quickly enough and in an environment that is safe for our volunteers and agency representatives.
We are also restricted in serving our member agencies because we have outgrown our office, meeting, and training spaces. Our office staff has doubled since 1993, and some staff are currently working in tiny stations that have no privacy and adjoin busy walkways. We have had to impose a hiring freeze for office employees because of the lack of space. Our training and meeting spaces are also inadequate to accommodate our increase in staff, a growing volunteer workforce, and the large number of workshops we offer our member agencies.
Finally, our parking situation has become a nightmare. Our lot is just big enough to handle our staff and a few volunteers a day, but on the many days when large volunteer groups visit or workshops are held, visitors are forced to park on the lawn or wherever they can find room. It limits our capacity to serve our member agencies, donors, and volunteers properly.
The Food Bank has created a capital improvement project to address the problems caused by this lack of space. Some of the major improvements to the distribution dock, office, and parking lot are listed below.
- Build a new 2,500 square foot dock
- Expand agency produce shopping area
- Increase size of display cooler
- Add floor scale
- Increase office size by 5,000 square feet
- Provide work spaces for 15 additional staff
- Expand training kitchen, upgrade appliances, and install video equipment
- Provide designated volunteer work area in the office
- Add 30 parking spaces
- Create more efficient and safer traffic flow
The capital project will resolve all of the Regional Food Bank’s current space limitations and position us to meet demand for the next 10 years. It will enable us to increase food donations, distribute product more efficiently, hire the staff we need to keep moving forward, and provide additional training to our member agencies.
The total cost of the project is $2 million. It includes all construction and new racking, equipment, technology upgrades, and furnishings.
The Regional Food Bank has embarked on a Capital Campaign to raise the money it needs to complete this project. The co-chairs of the campaign are Jerry Golub of Price Chopper & Market 32 and Bob Curley of Berkshire Bank. We are very grateful for their dedicated, professional leadership.
We are in the early stages of the campaign, but funds are already being raised and we are confident it will be a great success. We invite all of our supporters to learn more about this ambitious but essential expansion project and contribute to its success. We are very excited about the potential it will provide to improve everything we do for our member agencies and the hungry people they serve every day.
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