(Harrisburg, PA) – It isn’t news that many families are struggling during the economic downturn that has occurred over the past few years. Over that time, the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank and its partners have seen need increase by 50% or more. In fiscal year 2009/10, the Food Bank’s total food distribution was 16.1 million pounds, a record year. Fiscal year 2010/11 saw that number jump by 25%, with 20 million pounds of food distributed. Needless to say, our warehouse has been stretched to its capacity and beyond.
To meet the ever-increasing growing demand, on Wednesday, August 3, the Central PA Food Bank broke ground on a warehouse expansion project, the centerpiece of Project Advancing Hope. A parcel of land was acquired directly behind the Food Bank’s existing warehouse and 28,000 square feet of warehouse space will be added. By adding this space, the Food Bank’s rack space will increase from 1,800 rack spaces to more than 5,000 rack spaces. The new racks will be structural racking, an industry standard for food warehousing, which is much stronger than the current racking. Project Advancing Hope will also include an expanded volunteer area, a commercial grade demonstration kitchen, a clean room for sorting food, office space for our operations team, an enhanced shopping area for our partners, and capacity building grants to improve distribution to our food delivery network.
Adding space is essential, but adding that space will allow the Food Bank to introduce new efficiencies that were not possible in our current configuration. Bar coding will now be utilized to track inventory and increase efficiency when pulling orders and assigned storage space of food will also reduce time spent pulling orders and enhance food safety.
“Project Advancing Hope is essential for the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank to fulfill our mission and serve the individuals and families that are in need of food in our communities,” said Kendall Hanna, Central PA Food Bank Executive Director. “The food products we supply to families in need provide much needed nourishment for their body. Perhaps just as importantly, this food provides hope for the future. This project will enable the Food Bank to more efficiently warehouse and distribute food products, and better serve our community.”
Architects for Project Advancing Hope are Willigerod and MacAvoy and the General Contractor is JEM Group LLC. The Food Bank would graciously like to thank Jamie Strong of the law firm McNees, Wallace and Nurick, who donated countless hours in the planning of the project, and without whose assistance, this project would never have been feasible. Thank you also to the Kline Foundation and Stabler Foundation, who are providing partial funding support for the project.
The Food Bank last expanded its warehouse in 1999, when the total distribution was approximately 12 million pounds. Office space was added to the Corey Road facility in 2007. Construction will take place in two phases, and is expected to be completed by April, 2012.