Amid the sounds of construction, the public gathered Thursday for a first look at the new Food Bank Market.
The facility, located on 705 Business Loop W, is under renovation and will open in late fall.
"The Food Bank has been dedicated to providing not only food but providing enough nutritious food that people can lead a healthy lifestyle," said Katie Adkins, director of communication and marketing for The Food Bank. Adkins led a tour of the facility and spoke about how it expands the capabilities of the organization.
Administrative and warehouse work at The Food Bank's Vandiver Drive location will continue at its existing location, while operations at its Central Pantry will relocate to the new facility.
The facility will feature nearly 8,000 square feet of cold storage and over 11,000 square feet of warehouse space, in addition to expanded community services. One new feature includes a demonstration kitchen — which includes four home kitchens where community members can cook.
The Food Bank's mission goes beyond providing food but also "providing support for people to be able to prepare and store that food. The demonstration kitchen will be the heart of that effort," Adkins said.
She explained that the demonstration kitchen will open up to the retail floor, so members will be able to grab samples and watch a registered dietician prepare food. The existing Food Bank locations do not have a demonstration kitchen.
"The amazing thing about this location is that it's going to expand the food banks, warehouse space and cold storage significantly," Adkins said. "Not only are we able to share more food, but we're going to be able to share new ideas about how to effectively support food security in each of our communities."
The Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri currently serves 32 counties and collaborates with more than 100 partners in Boone County. In addition to food, the Food Bank Market will feature spaces for local partners to share resources like housing and utilities assistance.
"We intend for the market to be a gathering spot for the community," said Lindsay Young Lopez, president and CEO of The Food Bank.
In collaboration with the Compass Health Network, the new facility will provide preventative and primary care services from a 1,108-square-foot tenant space.
"Food security is not something that happens in a bubble," Adkins said. "When I hear that we're able to bring preventative care, legal assistance and educational opportunities to our neighbors, it makes me feel really positive about the future of hunger alleviation in mid-Missouri."
Lopez announced that The Food Bank has raised “more than 60%” of the $7 million it is trying to raise for the project. The cost will cover the new facility, as well as renovations, fixtures, furniture and programming support.
Construction on the new facility began in 2020 and will continue over the coming months.