A national foundation, which has asked to remain anonymous, is eager to help The Food Depot with the Building Hope Project – the construction of its Food Distribution and Education Center. However, to receive their gift of $100,000, they are asking businesses and foundations to pitch in an additional $200,000!
To match this challenge, businesses and foundations can mail a donation to The Food Depot at 1222 Siler Road in Santa Fe, New Mexico 87507. They can also go online at www.thefooddepot.org to make a secure online donation. A donation of $100 buys one square foot, space to provide 650 meals, year after year!
Another challenge is currently underway. The food bank’s Board President, Bobbi Hall pledged $1 million to the Building Hope Project. Since January, the food bank has raised $340,000 to match the pledge. We have only a few short months to raise the remaining $640,000!
“With the Building Hope Project, we will construct a larger warehouse with increased freezer and refrigeration space so we can handle larger quantities of food and distribute it more efficiently,” said Sherry Hooper, The Food Depot executive director. “We have launched the Building Hope Project to not only meet current needs, but to allow for flexible space to meet the needs of hungry New Mexicans in the future.”
Annually, The Food Depot provides nearly five million meals through its 120 partner agencies in Northern New Mexico; however, this still does not fully meet the need. The changing nature of donations, an expanding service area and increased demand for food have led The Food Depot’s Board of Directors to embark on the Building Hope Project to expand and improve the food bank’s facilities.
“Currently, The Food Depot is occasionally forced to turn away donations of fresh produce, meat, and dairy products, which carry the greatest nutritional benefit, due to lack of refrigerated and freezer space,” said Hooper. “We also have to restrict the number of volunteers due to a lack of space in the volunteer area or the warehouse for them to work. The new food distribution and education center will provide seven times more refrigerator space, 22 times more freezer space and four times more volunteer work space.”
The goal is to build a 15,926 square foot building directly behind the current warehouse and facility located on Siler Road. The City of Santa Fe has already become a partner in this endeavor, as the new warehouse and facilities will sit on city land.
The new warehouse and facilities will help to meet the future potential needs as hunger and food insecurity grow in Northern New Mexico. They will allow The Food Depot to:
- Double food distribution total to more than eight million pounds annually, providing 10 million meals to hungry New Mexicans.
- Collect more produce, meat and other perishable foods high in nutrition, helping to decrease heart disease and diabetes among those living in poverty.
- Purchase larger quantities of food when most cost effective.
- Support local growers by increasing acquisitions of fresh produce.
- Expand nutrition education and healthy cooking classes.
- Keep pace with the changing nature of donations, as perishable foods account for an increasing share.
- Improve the response to regional disasters.
- Increase the number of volunteers and volunteer projects.
- Create new programs, services and partnerships with local organizations.
The Food Depot is committed to ending hunger in Northern New Mexico. As the food bank for nine Northern New Mexico counties, The Food Depot provides food to 120 not-for-profit agencies including emergency food pantries, hot meal programs, homeless shelters, youth programs, senior centers, homes for the mentally disabled and shelters for battered persons. This service enables these agencies to stay focused on their primary missions such as sheltering homeless families, providing hot meals to the homebound and offering life skills development to youth. The food bank distributes an average of 300,000 pounds of food and household products each month, providing more than 400,000 meals to people in need - the most vulnerable of our community – children, seniors, working families and those in ill health.