The Cranbrook Food Bank finally has its own place to grow and better serve its customers with the opening of its new warehouse space.
Volunteers, representatives from Columbia Basin Trust, donors and Mayor Wayne Stetski cut a ribbon to officially open the new warehouse facility on Industrial Road B on Friday afternoon. President of the Food Bank Thom McCaughey said the savings from having the facility will go directly to providing food to those in need in the community.
Before the warehouse came into use this August, McCaughey said the Food Bank rented a facility on Cranbrook Street that cost $22,000 a year in rent.
“It was costing us a lot of money every year,” McCaughey said.
The new facility will cost about $300 less per month, and those savings will be passed on to provide more food.
“Approximately $300 a month will be able to go immediately to provide food,” McCaughey said.
Food Bank volunteer and one of the drivers behind the project Brian Smith said the building will also have savings on heating and other utilities, however those savings will not be known until it has been used for several months. The building is better insulated and more efficient than the previous rental property.
McCaughey said once the mortgage is paid off in a few years, they will be able to apply even more savings to purchase food.
“Once we own it we will not be paying to rent out anymore,” he said.
The Food Bank got to design a facility that worked for them. The new warehouse has overhead doors that open to allow the Food Bank van to drive right in for pick up. The layout is better and shelving keeps food up off the ground and neatly stacked. Smith said the new space is much cleaner and more secure from pests. They also have expanded their space by 1,000 sq. ft.
Food arrives at the warehouse and is then sorted by volunteers. From there it is taken to the distribution centre as it is needed. All work is done by volunteers and every dollar is spent on food.
“Food is where all of our money is spent,” McCaughey said. “Everyone who works for the Food Bank is a volunteer, we have no paid positions.”
At the ribbon cutting event, a new shipment had just arrived from Calgary. McCaughey explained that shipments of food come from all over and the boxes are not sorted when they come in. That work is of course done by volunteers.
The new warehouse wouldn’t have happened without donations of goods and services from the community. One big supporter was the project’s contractor Paul Miller who subdivided off his own lot to provide space for the new building.
“This has been extremely well supported by the community,” McCaughey said. “Everybody just came forward to help us.”
Columbia Basin Trust also contributed funding to the worthwhile project.