Rural Development Partners allocated $15 million in NMTCs to fill the funding gap for Freestore Foodbank (FSFB), expanding the capacity and efficiency of their distribution center as they fight food insecurity in a 20-county tri-state region. The new 224,000 sq. ft. community resource and distribution center will increase the ability to ship and store food and enable the foodbank to expand their programs and services. The facility will strategically incorporate operational efficiencies around warehousing and logistics freeing up valuable resources to focus on growth and expansion into underserved markets, and provide space to expand workforce development programs. The facility will include a 8,600 sq. ft. test kitchen and over 31,000 sq. ft. of cooler and freezer space, enabling a variety of services that encourage healthy food nutrition.
FSFB is the largest emergency food and service provider in Greater Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky, and Southeast Indiana, providing over 41 million meals a year to rural communities and Greater Cincinnati through a network of more than 574 partner agencies.
“Free Store” was founded in 1971 by Frank Gerson, and in 1979 became a founding member of ;Feeding America. Demand increased by nearly 200% from 2009-2019, forcing the need for additional warehouse storage in Wilder, KY. In 2020, the pandemic led to a 50% food distribution increase, as FSFB served 40+ million pounds of food to those in need causing significant strain on facilities not built to accommodate such increases.
FSFB’s “Growing Beyond Hunger” campaign launched just prior to the pandemic and set out to raise $30 million for the expansion. NMTCs will fill the funding gap for the new 224,000 sq. ft. community resource and distribution center, allowing for retention of capital resources for mission driven operations.
The new facility is scheduled for completion the winter of 2022. ;