Rural Development Partners allocated $12.5 million in New Markets Tax Credits to close the funding gap for Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina to expand their Wilmington Branch. The investment enabled the Food Bank to complete construction without delay while directing more capital toward operations. The new facility triples the size of Wilmington’s old location, allowing them to expand their service region and partner agencies, create jobs to support the broader distribution, and efficiently fight food insecurity.
“Rural Development Partners is proud to play a small part in helping fight food insecurity, and we know that the Wilmington Food Bank will now be better equipped to meet the needs of those in both the non-metro and metro counties that they serve.” – Dan Helgeson, CEO of Rural Development Partners
Wilmington’s new branch will be located on a five-acre tract of land located at the former site of Village Plaza Shopping Center, destroyed by fire in 2018, and home to the areas only grocery store. The new hub will accommodate substantially more dry food, and the 4,500 SF cooler and freezer space will allow for significantly more distribution of fresh healthy foods. A 2,500 SF commercial teaching and production kitchen will provide for increased nutritional opportunities; overall the facility will be in a good position to support workforce development, health education, a learning farm, and provide food access for nearby residents.
“We know we can’t solve hunger in the Cape Fear region alone and we’re so thankful for partnerships like this one with Rural Development Partners,” said Ashley C. McCumber, President & CEO of the Food Bank. “Their support through the New Markets Tax Credits ensures that we can continue to nourish people and address hunger at its root causes for years to come.”
Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina
The Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina is a nonprofit organization that provides food for 34-counties, the largest hunger relief organization in the region. The Wilmington Branch is one of 6 distribution centers utilized by the Food Bank. It serves as a distribution hub, receives food drive donations, is a space for volunteers to give back, and a base of operations for nutrition and educational programs including kids programming and benefits outreach. The new Wilmington facility will serve the counties of New Hanover, Brunswick, Pender, Columbus, and Duplin encompass rural communities.