Over 40 million people, including 13 million children, in the United States struggle with hunger. Food banks are in the front lines of efforts to feed the hungry and improve how the food system serves families that struggle.
Reinvestment Fund financing is helping the Atlanta Community Food Bank (serving Atlanta and North Georgia) and the Mid-South Food Bank (serving a 31-county area across Mississippi, Tennessee and Arkansas) strengthen operations and services through improved facilities.
Both food banks were constrained by their existing facilities, limiting their capacity to increase food distribution and provide additional services aimed at improving access to food.
Atlanta Community Food Bank’s (ACFB) current home was originally designed to be able to distribute up to 40 million pounds of food each year. Yet in 2017, ACFB distributed more than 70 million pounds of food, and this growth is only expected to continue. Its existing facility limits ACFB ability to take more food donations, especially fresh foods, and serve more food insecure people.
The new ACFB facility will bring all distribution, programming, and staff under one roof in a new, 345,000 sf distribution and headquarters facility. The project will greatly expand ACFB’s capability to provide fresh, healthy foods to its clients. Freezer space will more than double and office, dry storage and operations space will also increase.
ACFB also expects to expand its programming efforts, including providing incubator space for other food-focused nonprofits.
This project will enable ACFB to “close the meal gap” by 2025 and serve food insecure people that ACFB cannot currently serve. By 2025, ACFB will 1) distribute 50 million lbs of fresh produce, an increase of 3.8x their distribution in 2016; and 2) distribute 115 million meals and 145 million lbs of food, doubling their 2016 distribution.
Reinvestment Fund partnered with Rural Development Partners, Kroger Co., and PNC to finance the new facility.
Similarly, Mid South Food Bank (MSFB) is unable to accept all the donated product it is offered currently, limiting its ability to reach almost half of the food insecure population in its communities. Its current warehouses are not up to food safety standards and it is estimated that the food bank spends nearly $1,000 a day overcoming operational challenges that could otherwise provide food to low-income families. The project will renovate a newly purchased 227,000-square-foot warehouse to include ample cold storage, and volunteer space.
The new facility will also allow MSFB to establish a choice food pantry. Choice pantries are designed to provide clients the ability to “shop” for their food. Not only are these pantries favored for a more dignified experience for the client, they also reduce waste, allowing clients to select food that meets their dietary preferences.
MSFB will also have evening hours for the pantry to specifically serve working families unable to visit other pantries that are often volunteer run and typically limited to daytime hours.
Reinvestment Fund partnered with National Community Investment Fund and U.S. Bank to finance the new facility.