Capital Area Food Bank Moves to Address Growing Hunger Crisis - Capital Area Food Bank
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Capital Area Food Bank Moves to Address Growing Hunger Crisis

By Lynn Brantley July 19, 2012

We have some very important news to share with you about the Capital Area Food Bank.
After 21 years in our present location at 645 Taylor Street, NE, we are moving, beginning July 25th, into a new food distribution center at 4900 Puerto Rico Avenue, NE – just a short walk away.

Our reopening

We will officially open for business on, Tuesday, July 31.
Some of you – our faithful volunteers, partner agencies and supporters – may wonder why we are moving into a greatly expanded facility. For us, the reason is clear.
Despite the fact that we are distributing 30 million pounds of food annually – half of which is fresh produce – we are not able to meet the growing demand. Poverty, and the social injustice that it brings, are on the rise in our region and nationally. The middle class is under stress and many people who have never needed emergency food services find themselves at the doors of neighborhood food pantries which depend on us for the food and household items they supply
Since our founding 32 years ago on January 15, 1980, there is regrettably more of a need today than ever for our services. Over 680,000 individuals in the Washington metro area look to us for help, including 200,000 children. Those who currently suffer from hunger exceed the numbers who were struggling in the late 1970s and ‘80s.

What will this new distribution center mean to our community?

A bigger facility means that we can distribute a higher quality and quantity of food. It also means we can grow our nutrition education and outreach initiatives, which address the root causes of hunger.
Because the Capital Area Food Bank did not see an end to the uncertain economy and the dire situation it has created, we embarked on a capital campaign under the leadership of co-chairs Donald E. Graham; J.W. Marriott, Jr.; Abe and Irene Pollin and Bennett Zier.
The campaign concluded in November of 2010 with a capstone grant of $5 million from William E. Conway Jr. and his wife, Joanne, through their charitable trust, The Bedford Falls Foundation.
Construction began (See Facebook album for pics) the following January. Our architect, Epstein; our general contractor, Turner Construction Company; and our development manager, the Jair Lynch Development Partners; have been hard at work for the past year and a half renovating a 23,000 square foot office portion of an existing building and constructing a 100,000 square foot facility – the Bedford Falls Foundation Distribution Center.
This significant undertaking will enable the Capital Area Food Bank to continue leading the hunger relief effort in the Washington metro area because:

  • More space equals more food: Our new facility will be as large as two football fields, twice the size of our current space. This means we can eventually accept and distribute twice as much food to our neighbors. Increased refrigerator and freezer capacity means that more broccoli, carrots, milk and other fresh items will be available for families in need.
  • Green features save money: Features and fixtures such as energy efficient lighting, low-flow faucets, and solar panels, donated by BP, mean over $70,000 in energy cost savings per year. These savings leave us with more resources to help the community.
  • More room for volunteers: With room to grow our base of volunteers – currently at over 15,000 annually – we can provide them with special stations for sorting food into small containers for easy client access.
  • Training and teaching space: With new space for classrooms, along with commercial and teaching kitchens, we can hold more nutrition education and cooking classes to help those who receive our food stretch their dollars even farther.

Your investment with us over the years has been central to our role in educating, empowering and enlightening the community about the issues of hunger and nutrition. Your continued support of the Capital Area Food Bank will go far beyond the doors of the new and improved facility as we stand behind our mission to serve others ’til no one is hungry.