The Fort Saskatchewan Food Bank expects its new, larger building will make life easier for both clients and volunteers.
The food bank currently operates out of a 1650 square foot facility that is short on both storage space and privacy, a situation the organization’s vice president, Kassandra Gartner, can’t wait to leave behind.
According to Gartner, the lack of space—which has the food bank keeping supplies in sheds and storage units—means extra work, and more heavy lifting, for the nonprofit’s 100-plus volunteers.
“It's inefficient right now,” Gartner said. “We're having to manipulate inventory and move things around, which takes a lot of volunteer time.”
The food bank’s new 14,000 square foot facility will sit next to the Fort Saskatchewan Families First Society building on land the food bank will lease from the city. With the design phase now complete, the food bank’s current priority is raising enough money from grants and the community to fund the $3-3.5 million project.
"Needing a new building, we have to now establish a fundraising committee, a fundraising task force. It's not something that the food bank has ever had to do before," Gartner said.
In its significantly larger new home, the food bank will be able to store its inventory together under one roof and set aside more room for fridges and freezers.
"I would love to establish a food recovery program,” Gartner said, pointing out that the added fridge and freezer space will give the food bank more room for storing fresh fresh fruits and vegetables between hamper days.
The new two-storey building, designed with client well-being in mind, will include a revamped reception area that will give food bank users some much-needed privacy when they come in looking for help.
“Right now when you go into our facility, it's old. It's clean, but it's old. Every single square inch serves as double purpose,” Gartner said. “The intake desk is the same intake desk, the same area where people pick up their hampers, where our volunteers drop things off, where our office administration do their work."
A construction timeline for the new building has yet to be finalized.