The Kansas Food Bank announced a $5 million expansion and held a groundbreaking ceremony this morning.
The food bank has been at the warehouse, located on East Douglas Avenue, for more than 10 years. The facility allowed them to go from distributing more than four million pounds of food to 15 million pounds.
The president of Kansas Food Bank, Brian Walker, said the current space isn’t big enough to get all the work done.
The food bank’s expansion includes a new volunteer center to accommodate the thousands of yearly volunteers.
“When we built this facility, food banking was done a little differently. It didn’t take as many volunteers as we have now,” said Walker.
The president added he always gets community members asking how they can help the food bank.
“This will just give them more opportunities to do that. All the time, people are wanting to volunteer and help us, and we are very blessed because of that,” said Walker.
The expansion also includes additional warehouse space and doubling the size of its cooler space.
Many of the fresh produce comes to the food bank in bulk, which calls for more space.
According to Walker, the additional storage space will enable the bank to distribute more than six million pounds of produce every year — an increase from three million pounds.
“Produce is a very expensive item in the grocery stores. It’s probably the first thing you pass up because you can’t afford it,” explained Walker. “We want to be able to have that option for those folks visiting those pantries and our soup kitchens having the option to serve it.”
Construction is set to start next month, and it should be complete by May 2019.