What’s happening with the building project?
Yolo Food Bank has purchased a 36,000 square-foot warehouse on a 2.9-acre lot in Woodland and has begun remodeling as of the Fall of 2017. We have retained McCandless & Associates as our architect who will be designing the project and have hired Brown Construction, Inc. to make our vision a reality. The plan is for expanded dry storage, a larger volunteer re-pack room and cold storage space and education spaces.
Why does the Food Bank need a new facility?
There are more hungry people in our community and we have access to more food that can feed them. But we have simply run out of space to accommodate the greater need at our current leased facilities and are unable to expand our services to our programs and partner agencies. Our current facility was never designed as a distribution warehouse but was adequate when we were distributing up to 2.5 million pounds of food each year. Over the years we expanded into four separate warehouses and two office buildings.
During the past three years we have seen a dramatic rise in the need and, in response, we increased distribution to more than four million pounds of food and groceries per year. More importantly, the quality of what we distribute has dramatically changed since we first occupied our current facility. Ten years ago, our distribution consisted of mostly shelf stable food items. Now, nearly half of what we distribute is fresh and frozen food. Our current cold storage space is inadequate to store and distribute fresh foods today, let alone what we know we can procure in the future.
Why does the Food Bank need such a big building?
Currently, we occupy 11,000 square feet, and our new facility, when completed, will be 40,000 square feet under one roof that will allow us to expand our food distributions, store more perishable goods, and prepare us for the next 20 years.
Who is leading the campaign?
Our Board Chair is Tom Muller. Our Executive Director is Michael Bisch, and our Director of Philanthropic Engagement is Joy Cohan. Together, they lead a committed and talented group of twelve leaders from across Yolo County who have stepped-up to serve on the Capital Campaign Committee.
How will it be funded?
In January 2016 we began the first of two phases of a $7.4 million Capital Campaign. As of January 2019, all but $100,000 of that amount has been raised.
When will the project be completed?
Yolo Food Bank will occupy the building by the end of March 2019.
Why did you purchase instead of lease a larger building?
We conducted an extensive search in Yolo County on all options that could handle our logistical and space needs. At the time, there were few spaces that came close to filling our needs and real estate prices and interest rates were very favorable to us. As a business matter, it was determined prudent to own our facilities, save money on rent that can be used for food, and not be subject to leases.
Who are your donors?
We are fortunate to have a wide variety of support from throughout the county and have received gifts from individuals, corporations and foundations. We started our campaign with the financial support of 100% of our Board of Directors and Campaign Committee. Campaign leaders are now engaged in conversation with scores of people in Yolo County who care about hunger in our community. Many are already financial supporters of the food bank. Others are new to our organization but are inspired by our vision. To raise $7.4 million will require gifts from hundreds of individuals, companies and grant-making organizations.
How will you afford to operate a much larger facility?
Our new facility will have a great deal of efficiencies built into it to offset some of the expected increases in operating expenses. For example, we have incorporated a solar system into the design to dramatically offset the increased cost of energy consumed. In our case, the solar panels will generate up to 85% of our energy needs. The panels will also shade the roof from the summer sun, therefore keeping the warehouse cooler. We have also increased, through the capital campaign, a number of new supporters to our annual fundraising.
When will the campaign end?
We are on track to complete our campaign by the end of February 2019.
Will you need more people to run the food bank?
We anticipate with the increase in distribution and programs we will have a modest increase in our staffing level to support the volume. However, we also rely heavily on our dedicated volunteers – volunteerism will increase as well. Our new building will attract more volunteers and we are designing a facility that maximizes their interest, involvement and comfort.
Will the facility have a commercial kitchen?
A later phase of the project may include this feature. Design plans exist, and the basic infrastructure for such a facility has been included in the renovations. Such a kitchen would serve several functions: food preparation; food preservation; educational purposes; job training and after-school programs, all of which would lead to the development of a more sustainable facility.
How long can I take to pay off my pledge?
Campaign gifts can be pledged over a one to five year period, depending on the size of the gift and on the individual’s capabilities
How do I make a gift or get more information?
Information is on our capital campaign site: www.endhungeryolo.org and explains how to make a gift. You may also contact Joy Cohan, Director of Philanthropic Engagement at email@example.com or 530-383-1814.