New facility on the way for Food Bank
Columbia Basin Trust provides $300,000 toward new facility
Construction of Cranbrook Food Bank Society’s new 6,300 square-foot facility at 1624 Industrial Rd 2, is underway.
The new facility will allow for the storage and distribution of food at one location, rather than the current two. The project is being supported with $300,000 from Columbia Basin Trust.
On average, the Food Bank gives out food hampers three times a week to about 450 households (800 people) per month or 10,000 individual client visits per year. Currently, it uses one building to store food and another, two kilometres away, to distribute it, requiring frequent trips between them.
The pandemic has worsened this disconnect between locations: demand for food and donations have gone up and regulations have made operations more complex. For example, to serve everyone while complying with physical distancing requirements, food hamper preparation requires volunteer shifts to be spread over six days instead of four.
“Our new facility design means adequate space for perishable and non-perishable food receiving, preparation and storage, cleaning, packing, and distribution of food hampers. It means safe and more efficient operations for our volunteers and clients,” said Brian Smith, a board member who has worked tirelessly this last two years propelling the new facility vision forward.
Move-in date is expected late February 2021. The old Food Bank distribution building has been sold and the warehouse is in the process of being sold. The new facility will also house two additional programs: Cranbrook Food Recovery, and Farm Kitchen, both run by the Community Connections Society of Southeast B.C.
“It just makes sense to share a building, equipment and resources with other programs who share our vision of recovering and distributing good quality food to those who need it,” explained Deanna Kemperman, Food Bank Coordinator.
Why the Industrial area location?
“We searched hard for over two years to find an affordable central location. Interestingly, only 20% of our clients currently walk to pick up their hampers, the others find rides. The new Food Bank is directly on a bus route, and we are including clients in discussions about possible delivery/pickup station – type options so that everyone who needs a hamper can get one. We’ll make this work,” said Deanna.
Deborah Russon, Food Bank Board President, relays a heart-felt thank you from the eight-member volunteer Food Bank Board: “This building simply would not be possible without the generous donation and consulting support of Columbia Basin Trust, who are a tremendous resource to our region. We have found their staff to be professional, knowledgeable, and simply a pleasure to work with.
“Our builders, New Dawn Development, have been outstanding as well. Their community-minded culture and Chad Jensen’s willingness to share expertise and resources right from day one have been invaluable. We are indebted to BCGEU for their generous 2018 donation of our current Food Bank distribution building, which made it possible to begin dreaming of a consolidated warehouse/distribution facility.
“We’d also like to extend sincere thanks for the continued interest and support of the East Kootenay Credit Union and City of Cranbrook.
“Lastly, we are thankful for and humbled by the continuous support we receive from our community. They understand that working together works! Thank you to individuals, to businesses, churches, service organizations, to our clients, and to other non-profits sharing the load. Your patience and support have been phenomenal.”
Cranbrook Food Bank Society