Dayton foodbank eyes expansion after demand soars

Dayton Foodbank feeds hundreds of households ahead of holidays.
Caption
Dayton Foodbank feeds hundreds of households ahead of holidays.

Credit: Jim Noelker

Credit: Jim Noelker

The Foodbank Inc. plans to expand after two challenging years that saw intense local demand for food assistance.

The organization expects to construct a 6,000-square-foot addition next to its headquarters at 56 Armor Place in Dayton. The new building will provide space for about 800 additional pallets of nonperishable foods, said Lee Lauren Truesdale, chief development officer for The Foodbank.

The addition also will offer a dedicated space for the group’s volunteer program, she said, providing a place for volunteers to prepare weekend meal packs, senior food boxes, and sort and repack produce.

“This will also provide the opportunity for our community to further engage in our hunger relief work and will give the community a space to gather and give back,” she said.

A new food distribution truck unveiled Thursday morning will help distribute food in the west Dayton area and combat food insecurity. During the event, Montgomery County commissioners spoke about the fight against food insecurity by funding a second truck for The Foodbank Inc. JIM NOELKER/STAFF
Caption
A new food distribution truck unveiled Thursday morning will help distribute food in the west Dayton area and combat food insecurity. During the event, Montgomery County commissioners spoke about the fight against food insecurity by funding a second truck for The Foodbank Inc. JIM NOELKER/STAFF

The Foodbank expects to spend more than $842,500 on the new addition, which will be paid for by donations. The group’s current facility is about 31,000 square feet.

Demand for emergency food assistance surged after the 2019 Memorial Day tornadoes and then skyrocketed during the COVID-19 outbreak.

But increased charitable giving helped meet the demand: In fiscal year 2020, The Foodbank received $6.2 million in private funds ― which was up from $3.2 million from fiscal year 2019.

Donated funds helped buy and distribute food and expanded food-distribution methods to meet urgent needs, Truesdale said.

She said remaining funds are being used to ensure The Foodbank has space to rescue food from local retailers ― reducing food waste ― and to store items to meet ongoing needs and prepare for future emergencies.

A new food distribution truck unveiled Thursday morning will help distribute food in the west Dayton area and combat food insecurity. During the event, Montgomery County commissioners spoke about the fight against food insecurity by funding a second truck for The Foodbank Inc.
Caption
A new food distribution truck unveiled Thursday morning will help distribute food in the west Dayton area and combat food insecurity. During the event, Montgomery County commissioners spoke about the fight against food insecurity by funding a second truck for The Foodbank Inc.

Credit: JIM NOELKER

Credit: JIM NOELKER

The Foodbank’s current warehouse was built in 2014 and designed to process up to 10 million pounds of food annually, according to a blog written by staff with the organization.

But in the last fiscal year, The Foodbank distributed nearly 18 million pounds of food, and the organization is working to increase capacity.

The Foodbank has expanded its headquarters and added staff and trucks, and in the near future it plans to expand its onsite cold storage space, staff said.