Feed My People Food Bank is moving forward with its planned $3 million expansion this year, which will double the size of its Eau Claire facility.
The organization leaders will gather today at Charter Bank to receive a check that will help pay for the expansion.
Emily Moore, Feed My People Food Bank’s executive director, said they moved into their present building 10 years ago. Within a couple years, they realized the space just wasn’t going to be big enough for their future needs. They started planning for growth, and began putting away reserve dollars to pay for the project.
“We believed the building would be sufficient to handle triple the amount of food we were handling,” Moore said.
In 2009, they were distributing about 2 million pounds of food to food pantries and shelters they serve in a 14-county area. In 2019, that is now about 7 million pounds of food shared to those organizations. A FMPFB pamphlet states they have seen a 113 percent growth in the number of people served from 2009 to 2017.
The good news is their present location has enough land to expand on-site, she said.
Feed My People Food Bank already has $2.4 million in pledges, many over a five-year span.
“We have about $1.1 million in cash-on-hand, and $600,000 of that is money (we’ve saved) since 2010 we set aside for the project,” Moore said.
The group’s board decided in January 2018 to move forward with the project and attempt to line up donations to pay for the rest. They are still about $600,000 short.
“There is confidence the campaign will come together, so we’ll start (construction) this spring,” Moore said. “It’s exciting and a little nerve-racking. It’s the biggest project Feed My People has ever done. But Feed My People is about the community coming together to help each other, and this is an example of it.”
One of the features of the expansion is it will triple the cooler space, which will allow them to share more fresh food, particularly fruits and vegetables, to their clients. The space for volunteer work areas will double, and a second-floor office will be added. The first-floor reception area also will be remodeled.
Moore said they are a member of Feeding America Food Banks, which provides much of their food. They also have local donors, including agriculture providers. They also work with other food banks they work on sharing items.
Feed My People Food Bank has a planned open house on April 11. For more information on the organization, or to donate to the expansion, visit fmpfoodbank.org.