The Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina has moved into a bigger space that will allow the group to provide more meals for hungry families.
The new building, at 1924 Capital Blvd. in Raleigh, is 85,000 square feet – more than double the size of the previous facility on Tarheel Drive. It features more freezer and cooler space for perishable foods, more room for volunteers and increased loading-dock space.
“This building is built by the community, for the community,” said Peter Werbicki, president and CEO of the nonprofit organization. “It really is the food bank putting the next mark down on ensuring that we meet our goal and our vision that nobody goes hungry in central and Eastern North Carolina.”
The group distributed more than 64.4 million pounds of food and non-food essentials during the 2015-16 fiscal year. Established in 1980, the food bank partners with more than 800 agencies such as soup kitchens and food pantries. It also hosts programs for children and adults, including cooking classes and Weekend Power Pack, in which kids are given backpacks filled with nutritious foods.
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During the holiday season, “the need really grows,” said Mike Hall, one of Food Lion Feed’s directors of operation who has been a volunteer at the food bank for six years. The organization can provide 130 meals for every hour spent volunteering.
“It’s amazing,” Hall said of the new building. “It’s something that has been needed for a long, long time.”
The grocery chain partners with the food bank through Food Lion Feeds, an effort focused on hunger relief.
Matt Harakal, manager of media and community relations at Food Lion, agreed. Food Lion Feeds hopes to donate more than 500 million meals by the end of 2020, he said.
“Hunger doesn’t have a calendar,” Harakal said. “We want folks to have a nourishing holiday meal so they’re not missing out or in need during the holidays.”
The food bank is continuing to help in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, which caused severe flooding in some parts of Eastern North Carolina.
The group is most in need of hygiene items, especially diapers, said Jennifer Caslin, coordinator of marketing, public and branch relations at the food bank.
Madison Iszler: 919-836-4952; @madisoniszler