I had a chance to tour the new Food Bank of Delaware’s impressive 80,000-square-foot warehouse on Lake Drive in the Pencader area south of Newark.
The former UPS location will allow the nonprofit organization to accept millions of pounds of produce contributions that often went elsewhere.
Deliveries via tractor-trailer at the boxed-in location on Dawson Drive were difficult and led some few drivers to go elsewhere with donated food. The new location comes with easy-to-access loading docks and modern warehouse facilities.
The location comes at the right time for the Food Bank. The organization has expanded its mission over the years to attack the root causes of hunger.
Despite an employment rate in Delaware that has moved well below four percent, demand for the food bank’s services continues to grow. In the current economy, families and individuals struggle with low incomes, high housing costs, a lack of skills and other issues that perpetuate the cycle of poverty.
The center will house a newly launched distribution center program that features forklift training. It joins the Food Bank’s long-running culinary program. Both programs prepare enrollees for employment opportunities in two fast-growing job categories.
The location has space for advising and counseling services that are needed as some enrollees make the transition from the corrections system or in overcoming personal and other issues that lead to periods of unemployment and/or multiple menial jobs with no benefits.
The Food Bank is already operating a farm-garden area adjacent to the center that received funding from Corteva, the combined ag business of DuPont and Dow. The farm will also provide training opportunities.
Move-in for the center is will begin on April 8, with the site to be in operation on April 15. Warehouse racks, kitchen equipment and other equipment will be moved from the old location.
A part of the project is the onsite Discover Café that will provide further revenues and training opportunities as well as an option for volunteers who provide help for the organization. Upwards of 5,000 people work in the Pencader area and quick dining options are few. The café is named after the credit card company that donated funds for the café.
Other features include a clean room to process donated food and additional space to serve food pantries.
The new center that borders the lake in Pencader warehouse-office area comes with a $15 million price tag that includes property acquisition, a new roof, and renovations. The current center on Dawson Drive has been sold.
The Food Bank still needs to raise $2.7 million to complete the center. To find out more or make a donation to this worthy cause, click here.
Enjoy your Monday and the warmer weather, even if you have to dodge some raindrops. – Doug Rainey, chief content officer.