The Cranbrook Food Bank will be closed for a short period of time as they move into their new building on Industrial Rd 2.
Wednesday, March 31st will mark the last day in the old building on 8th Ave S, with moving taking place between the 31st and April 6th. The new facility will be open to the public as of Wednesday, April 7th.
The Food Bank will be closed on both Good Friday (April 2) and Easter Monday (April 5) and food hampers will not be available during the closure.
Food Bank Manager Gerry Oviatt explained that they will be putting bread and sweets out as they normally would for a stat holiday.
“The volunteers need some time off too, they’ve been donating their time to get all of the stuff out here,” Oviatt said. “If people have questions they can still call us here, we will have the same phone number and we’re working on getting the office set up at the new building now. We’ll always have a phone and an answering service.”
Deanna Kemperman, Coordinator for the Cranbrook Food Bank, says that their team has been busy emptying the old food bank and warehouse locations in preparation for the move.
The new 6,300 square-foot facility is located at 1624 Industrial Road 2. It allows for storage and distribution all in one building, rather than having two separate locations as they currently do.
Construction began in the fall of 2020 with New Dawn Developments behind the build. Columbia Basin Trust provided $300,000 for the building and new equipment.
Oviatt says that the new building is very close to completion and will make a huge difference for their operation.
“It’s going to be a nice new location. This [current] space is 100 years old. It’s a house. There are walls in the way. It really cuts down on the space we have to work with,” Oviatt said, adding that the pandemic has made the lack of space even more challenging.
“When the virus came along we had to switch our operations around. Volunteers had to come in on Tuesday and Thursday to prepare for our normal operating days just so that there wasn’t so many people here at the same time.”
Another advantage to the new building is that it will house the Cranbrook Food Recovery and Farm Kitchen programs, which work closely with the food bank on a daily basis.
“We’ve been working with them for a couple of years now anyway. They’re going to have a nice new location there with everything they need and want in that same building. Of course, we transfer things back and forth between them and us every day,” explained Oviatt.
The Community Connections Society of Southeast BC, which operates the Farm Kitchen and Food Recovery programs, recently received a $70,000 grant from Columbia Basin Trust’s local food access and recovery grants program. The funds will be used to install a commercial kitchen at the new Food Bank location, as well as create perennial gardens, establish a network of gardening volunteers and expand food recovery operations.
Oviatt says that having all of the programs under one roof will eliminate unnecessary travel time and ultimately, help strengthen food security in Cranbrook.
“It’s going to make that part of it so much easier. We won’t have to transfer things back and forth, like we’re doing now from our warehouse. Plus the food recovery - we won’t have to be picking it up from there, bringing it here and getting their containers back to them. It’s going to make things a lot smoother in the end, plus the extra space that we have to work with. We’ll be able to lay it out so that the volunteers, especially during [COVID], we can keep people a little more distant.”
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