The Food Depot Alimentaire has opened the doors of its new food centre in Moncton, at the site of the old military base gym near the corner of St. George and Vaughan Harvey boulevards.
The centre will amalgamate three food banks in the Greater Moncton area: Open Hands, Second Mile and West End.
Although the renovations are still in full swing at the newly-named Peter McKee Community Food Centre, they wanted to get the operation going during the transition phase from the old food banks.
“It’s not just handing out food, it’s trying to enrich someone’s life who comes in here. It’s what I think is going to be different than what’s been done in the past,” said Dale Hicks, president of the Food Depot Alimentaire.
Dale Hicks, president of the Food Depot Alimentaire, says the new centre will offer a lot more than just a food bank. (CBC)“It’s about sitting down and having some sort of understanding about what their current situation is,” he said.
“What can we do from this building and more, so as a community to help them get out of that situation and move forward with their life.”
Open Hands closed at the end of April, West End will be closing in June, and Second Mile is still open for now in Dieppe, but people can come to the new centre as well.
As well as food, the new centre will offer services such as a teaching kitchen, a thrift store run by Nazareth House, and an urban garden where people can grow their own fruit and vegetables.
When work is finished on the old army base gym, the new centre will see the amalgamation of three area food banks. (CBC)The project was proposed two years ago, with the aim to bring more efficiency to the food bank system in the region.
“There were some inconsistencies in the approaches of different food banks,” said Hicks.
“And you are always competing for funding so there is efficiency in bringing them all under one roof.”
About 10 per cent of the regular food bank customers have started coming to the new centre, Hicks said.
The full, official opening is expected in four weeks.