The Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina recently purchased 1000 Greenfield St. to expand its services, according to an announcement Wednesday.
The nonprofit organization plans to build a new facility on the 5-acre tract, which formerly included a grocery store.
The purchase is seen as the first step toward developing the Food Bank at Wilmington’s aim to address urgent food insecurity in Brunswick, Columbus, New Hanover and Pender counties, a news release stated.
The food bank bought the property from Cameron Management Inc. for $375,000, with the Bruce Barclay Cameron Foundation providing $1 million toward the capital campaign goal of $7 million.
The site previously held Everybody’s Supermarket, but a fire destroyed it in May 2018, leaving residents around Greenfield Street without a nearby affordable food source.
The site is zoned for urban mixed-use (UMX). The food bank’s plan is to break ground in 2021 for a facility that would open in 2022, the release stated.
The Food Bank at Wilmington is currently located at 1314 Marstellar St., where it has operated since 1990. The new facility will allow for distribution of an additional 4.2 million pounds of food, a 37% increase, according to the release.
“Last year the Food Bank at Wilmington distributed nearly 11 million pounds of food, but the need is growing more urgent every day. Insufficient space has been the largest single obstacle to feeding more of our hungry neighbors,” said Beth Gaglione, Wilmington branch director for the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina, in the release.
The food bank’s current warehouse, which includes administrative offices, freezers and dry food storage, is 12,000 square feet while the new building will be about 35,000 square feet, according to the release.
Explaining the planned facility further, the release stated that the new space will have 4,500 square feet of commercial cooler and freezer space for perishable fresh foods and high-quality proteins; 20,000 square feet of dry food space; additional personnel and trucking to better support partner agency distribution; dedicated volunteer space and expanded volunteer opportunities to support increased distribution.
In addition to the Bruce Barclay Cameron Foundation’s contribution, early commitments toward the capital campaign are coming from entities that include New Hanover County, the city of Wilmington, Smithfield Foods and Bank of America.
While the current location provides food to Brunswick, Columbus, New Hanover and Pender counties, the new location will add Duplin County to the service area.