Food Bank of Alaska triples space at new location
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The Food Bank of Alaska moved into a new building at 2192 Viking Drive at the end of last summer but the nonprofit is just now showing the facility off to the public.
CEO Jim Baldwin described the difference in the new space as “night and day” compared to their old building.
“Now we have 78,000 square feet verses 25,000 square feet,” Baldwin said. “We can be more efficient; we can process food through this facility a lot quicker and get it out into people’s hands more efficiently.”
In addition to bigger, there’s a lot that’s better about the new facility, including a large walk-in cooler that will allow the Food Bank of Alaska to accept more fresh produce. Additionally, a large new freezer will make it easier for the volunteers to take bulk donations of meat.
“We recently had a 100,000 pound donation of frozen salmon filets, and in our old facility we didn’t have the capacity to accept that kind of donation,” Baldwin said.
Baldwin said that the organization needed more space to store and distribute food for a long time, but COVID-19 exacerbated the issue. They had a record year in 2021, distributing more than 11 million pounds of food. Baldwin said some of the need has leveled off, but expects the rising cost of living will push it up again.
“There’s still a lot of folks struggling to get food on the table — meeting their needs, costs going up now, the economy being what it is — and we are expecting this is not going to go away any time soon.”
Baldwin said the new building had an $11 million price tag but the nonprofit was able to purchase it debt free thanks to generous donations from the community including a $1 million donation from ConocoPhillips and a $500,000 donation from the Municipality of Anchorage.
Baldwin praised the donors, and said he wants people to know the food bank is a community resource which is more prepared than ever to help Alaskans in need.
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