Moncton’s meals banks to staff up beneath one roof

Moncton is getting a new, super-food bank, and saving a building from the wrecking ball at the same time.

The old gym that used to be part of CFB Moncton has been purchased, and will see Moncton’s various food banks team up in one location.

It took two years to work out the deal, and the food banks already have lots of plans for the building.

“We’re looking at putting a teaching kitchen in there eventually,” said Dale Hicks, president of Food Depot Alimentaire. “A community garden, maybe working with House of Nazareth to put the thrift store in there, used clothing, you know partner with that, so there’ll be different initiatives going on under the one roof.”

Dale Hicks of Food Depot Alimentaire says there will be savings in both volunteer time and money by amalgamating the Moncton food banks. (CBC)Food Depot Alimentaire is a non-profit charity that warehouses and supplies food to more than 20 food banks across southeastern New Brunswick.

The group is purchasing the building to consolidate several of Moncton’s food banks in one place, instead of having them spread across different neighbourhoods of the city.

Food banks expect to save money

That will mean savings for all the food banks, in time and money.

“We can amalgamate resources in terms of volunteers, and of course the money that goes into running three or four food banks will now be going toward running the one facility,” said Hicks.

It will mean some new issues for the clients. Many will have to travel a lot further to get to the new location.

“Moving it out of individual communities may make it more difficult for our clients that walk,” said Pastor Gordon James, Chair of the board at Second Mile Food Bank.

“Taking the bus with eight bags of groceries is just a nightmare, especially if you’re a senior or a person with mobility issues. So there’s going to be good parts about it, and people who are going to need a little extra help because of the change.”

The groups are trying to work through those issues now, and figure with more resources, more solutions can be found.

Transportation to food bank key

“We’ll have a transportation plan, part of that will be Codiac Transpo,” said Hicks. “They have a route that goes right by the front of the building here, we’ll make arrangements to get a shelter put out, of course for inclement weather, in the winter time or if it’s raining.”

The new site for the food bank was purchased for $250,000, plus one dollar for a 25-year lease on the land. (CBC)“There’s also in town here, a volunteer driver group that will deal with people perhaps that can’t get out or can’t get around and for people who are shut-ins, we will do some sort of delivery service.”

The Food Depot Alimentaire is purchasing the building for $250,000, with one extra dollar thrown in for a 25-year lease on the land.

The hope is to have the new food bank up and running in the new year.

With the need increasing every year, anything to streamline the process of feeding people in need is a step in the right direction, Hicks said.

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