MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) — A brand new and much larger Mid-South Food Bank distribution center is preparing for its grand opening and to help more people than ever.
Nearly 380,000 people in the Mid-South are food insecure. Many don’t know where their next meal will come from.
On Thursday, the Mid-South Food Bank will hold its grand opening for its new distribution center which will increase the number of people they’re able to reach.
The Mid-South Food Bank serves 31 counties and 200,000 people. Under the new facility they expect to almost double the number of people they can help.
The new facility is 167,000 square feet. That’s roughly the size of three football fields. It wasn’t a cheap venture. The new space cost upwards of $21 million.
It’s day and night to the old warehouses which combined for 60,000 square feet. The cooler and freezer space alone is a 37,000 square feet.
Mid-South Food Bank CEO & President Estella Mayhue-Greer said at their old location, they had to turn away food for lack of space. Mayhue-Greer said that’s no longer an issue.
“We just finished our fiscal year and we distributed over 15 million pounds. We can easily do 25 million pounds out of this facility and we’re excited about that because that means we can better meet the needs of those facing food insecurity,” Mayhue-Greer said.
On top of increasing the number of people they’ll be able to help, Mayhue-Greer said the new facility will fix all the issues they struggled with at their previous aging buildings.
“We spent so much money each month just keeping our equipment running. Our freezers would go out. Recently, as of two weeks ago, the power went out at one of our facilities and we lost food that was in our cooler,” she said.
The distribution center has its own generators now to ensure power always stays on.
With the extra space, comes a roomy volunteer hub. It’s allowed them to now handle three times as many volunteers than before. Now, they can have 150 people working packaging boxes full of food for deliveries.
Another addition to the food bank is a teaching kitchen where they’ll hold cooking classes that will allow their partners to cook along with the instructor. Mayhue-Greer said that was important to add because often during distribution of the food, they hear people don’t know how to cook it.
The grand opening is Thursday, July 11 at 5 p.m. The Mid-South Food Bank expects to be fully operational on Monday, July 15.