The Food Bank Coalition of San Luis Obispo is one step closer to opening a new warehouse to meet the growing needs of those it feeds.
The coalition announced April 1 the purchase of land on Kendall Road near the San Luis Obispo Regional Airport, where it plans to build a 20,000 square-foot facility.
“This will be a central hub for the services we provide,” said Wendy Lewis, the coalition’s chief financial officer.
The new facility, slated to open in May/June 2016, will enable the coalition to consolidate inventory and operations from its two current facilities in Paso Robles and Oceano. Lewis said the new warehouse would let the coalition increase the volume of its food inventory by 92 percent. That includes expanding freezer and refrigeration space for fresh fruits and vegetables.
“This will not only help us feed people, but it also means they will have access to more nutrient-dense and healthier food,” Lewis said.
The coalition will need all that extra room. Lewis said the amount of food the organization takes in and the number of people who depend on that food continues to grow. The coalition currently works with 200 community partners to feed 44,000 SLO County residents depending on food assistance. Last year, the coalition distributed more than 6.1 million pounds of food.
“We knew we were outgrowing our current facilities, and we had to start looking to the future,” she said. “[The new warehouse] means we will have room to grow for the next 25 years.”
Lewis was quick to stress that current services will not be interrupted during the transition. She said the Paso Robles and Oceano facilities would remain open until the new warehouse was completed. Once the new warehouse is open and operating, the coalition’s partners will be able to place orders for food. They will receive those orders either by picking them up, or via delivery.