The Food Bank for Central & Northeast Missouri announced its plan Wednesday to relocate to the Moser’s Foods building on Business Loop 70.
The new Central Pantry location will provide a generous amount of additional storage for produce, fresh and frozen items and other goods that are often donated and in high demand, Seth Wolfmeyer, marketing and communications coordinator for the food bank, said.
A bigger facility with more cold storage and freezer space will allow the Central Pantry to keep healthier foods in stock and accept more donations. The new space also will be used for overflow storage from the food bank.
“In every sense it’s a really big improvement,” Wolfmeyer said.
Lindsay Lopez, president and CEO of the food bank, said the project has been several years in the making as the food bank sought a building suitable as a warehouse space and with a location more central than the pantry on Big Bear Boulevard.
“We are really committed at the food bank to providing those perishable items that are more nutritious because we know that the people that we’re serving have higher incidences of medical challenges, so these better quality, more nutritious foods are just better for them,” Lopez said.
Lopez said the new building could feature a kitchen where nutritionists would work with the food bank to put together dishes and give out recipes. A community room for event space also is possible.
The Central Pantry is the largest in the 32 counties the food bank covers. It serves about 10,000 people per month.
Moser’s Foods will continue operating at the Business Loop location for the next nine months then will relocate to the Westbury Village development on Scott Boulevard.
“We are relocating the Moser’s store to create a modern and efficient retail supermarket design,” owner Roger Moser said in a news release.
The food bank agreed to buy the Moser’s building earlier this year. Renovations for the new Central Pantry location will begin after Moser’s moves.
Nick Hinshaw visited Moser’s on Wednesday. He said he shops there and also uses the Central Pantry. He said he’s happy the food bank will be closer to him but has mixed feelings about the idea of Moser’s moving.
“The most inconvenient thing is trying to find the certain products and brand of product that I buy here,” Hinshaw said. “I understand they’re opening one on Scott Boulevard, but that’s way out. I’m going to have to go someplace else.”
Lopez said that during the nine months Moser’s remains on the Business Loop, the food bank staff will work out a plan for how to coninue operating when the time to relocate comes.
“Our goal would be to have as little disruption in distribution in service as possible,” Lopez said. “And we think that we can handle that without really having much of a disruption of service. It’s important to us that the people that we serve who are accustomed to visiting the pantry and know that it’s open five days a week, that it can continue to operate and function as they expect it to.”