Community Food Bank readying for big move

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The Community Food Bank in Fresno County is running out of room, but soon it will have a new place to call home.

The food bank is in the process of buying the Valley Wide Beverage headquarters off Hardy and Cedar, a few blocks away. Valley Wide is relocating to Southwest Fresno near Amazon and offered a deal to help the food bank.

Community Food Bank Andy Souza said, "We were tremendously lucky. It's well below the appraised value. Now it's the opportunity to put the financing together to make it work so that every dollar we save in the transaction is just another seven meals we're putting out in the community."

The space is nearly triple the size of their existing facility. The move will allow the food bank to have more of its cold storage. Right now they have 3,000 square feet to hold fruits and veggies, but they'll soon have 15,000 square feet and could grow into 40,000 square feet.

"Because of the generosity of our farmers and growers in our region, we're up to 20-million pounds of fresh produce and we really have the capacity for two-million pounds, so we've been subleasing cold storage space in Reedley for seven months of the year," Souza said.

Fresh food is critical to providing good nutrition to families in need, who can't afford healthy food. The added space means more room to help store food for other food banks. It will also provide a place for volunteers to help feed families.

"Often times forklifts are driving by and people are crammed into space. This will give us an opportunity for food sorting, produce sorting. All the sort of things that allow folks to come alongside us and join us in this work that we don't have the capacity to do now," Souza said. "This can be a game changer for us, not only for the food bank but how we provide services to so many people in need up and down our Valley."
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