WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – Any food bank in America will tell you that volunteers are like members of the supporting cast. They help prop up the show, working in shadows to help feed the hungry on their own time.
But locally, at this moment, the “star” of the show is the new nCino Hunger Solution Center, which houses the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina’s Wilmington operations. It’s a state-of-the-art, 31,000-square-foot facility that sits at 1000 Greenfield St. That location was formerly home to a neighborhood grocery store that burned to the ground back in 2018.
Beth Gaglione is the director, happy to show off the place. It’s twice as large as the food bank location they vacated on Marstellar Street, and that doesn’t count the vertical space; the food is stored at heights they’ve never had before.
Food Lion is a partner that’s helping take the food bank to new heights as well.
“We’re proud of our community, it’s who we are,” said Meg Ham, Food Lion’s president. “We’ve contributed $500,000 to the food bank’s production kitchen.”
That new kitchen has a threefold purpose: a classroom to teach future cooks, a space for agencies to get and heat food for their own clients, and ground zero for humanitarian efforts when disaster strikes.
“If ever again we experience a storm like Hurricane Florence, we will be much better prepared to serve the people of this community, post-storm.” said Gaglione “We’ve asked for the support of New Hanover County in building this kitchen. We are internally calling it ‘command central’ in the case of disaster.”
The food bank also has 3/4 of an acre that will be used as a learning farm. The hope is to have a greenhouse on the property. The educational effort, in partnership with cooperative extension, could help people learn to grow some of their own food on their own property.
“That’s the goal,” said Gaglione. “We can teach people who are interested to take the techniques back into their own property and grow their own food.”
There are several other new programs in the development phase as the food bank looks ahead, to its future.
To learn more about its mission, click here.
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