LINCOLN, Neb.—Even before the pandemic disproportionately impacted children, families and neighbors who are struggling to make ends meet and put food on the table, Southeast Nebraska’s needs had outgrown the Food Bank of Lincoln’s current facility. The coronavirus pandemic magnified this reality. The Food Bank announced a capital campaign for a new facility in January 2021 and will celebrate the groundbreaking of its new headquarters at 10 a.m., Thursday, May 20, at 4201 NW 12th Street in Lincoln, Neb.
“This new Food Bank building helps Raise Our Response to Hunger by providing the infrastructure that affects every aspect of our mission … alleviating hunger in Lincoln and Southeast Nebraska,” said Dr. Marilyn Moore, chair of Raising Our Response to Hunger Steering Committee. “The Food Bank will be able to more effectively and efficiently receive food, store food and distribute food, in an environment that is safe for Food Bank employees and volunteers, supporting their best work.”
The event will feature remarks from Steph Vanous, president of Food Bank of Lincoln Board of Directors; Dr. Marilyn Moore, chair of Raising Our Response to Hunger Steering Committee; and Michaella Kumke, president and CEO of Food Bank of Lincoln, followed by the ceremonial groundbreaking led by Campaign Chair and Honorary Chairs, Food Bank staff, project partners and community members.
According to Feeding America, an estimated 229,120 Nebraskans are food insecure, including 57,510 in the Food Bank of Lincoln’s 16-county service area. The goals of the Raising Our Response to Hunger facility campaign are to connect more people to more meals, increase access to healthy food, and shorten food lines.
The new 60,000 square-foot facility, designed and constructed in collaboration with Sinclair Hille Architects and BIC Construction, will triple the Food Bank’s current refrigerated capacity and incorporate smart monitoring systems to help reduce spoilage and waste while increasing energy efficiency. An increased number of docks will improve food distribution efficiencies. New classrooms and volunteer work areas will offer safer, more welcoming environments for the community to engage in activities to help shorten food lines through education and empowerment.
Nestled between the Lincoln Airport and the Highlands in northwest Lincoln, the proximity between the new facility and Interstate I-80 will make it easier to efficiently move food in and out of the Distribution Center and into the 16-counties served by the Food Bank. Access to arterial roads in Lincoln will improve travel for clients, partner agencies and community members visiting the site.
“Strong partnerships and innovative programs have made it possible for the Food Bank to rise to new challenges for nearly 40 years,” Kumke said. “This new facility will be transformational for our continued focus on the work of feeding neighbors. Once again, we are rising together. Our ability to move healthier food more efficiently to all parts of our 16-county service area will create even more stability for neighbors facing hunger.”
With nearly $8.7 million raised, the Food Bank is closing in on its $10 million project goal and is asking for the public to join in raising the remaining funds. Donations to the campaign can be made through Give to Lincoln Day on May 25 (GivetoLincoln.com), with the designation “facility campaign” or through the Food Bank’s website, LincolnFoodBank.org.
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