Capital Area Food Bank of Texas, which has been operating out of a 60,000-square-foot facility at 8201 S. Congress Ave. in Southwest Austin for 20 years, is preparing to change its name and move to a larger facility, President and CEO Hank Perret said.
The nonprofit will change its name in June to Central Texas Food Bank and open at its new facility at 6500 Metropolis Drive on June 20 in Southeast Austin.
CAFB, which provides food to families and individuals in need in 21 Central Texas counties, has outgrown its Southwest Austin location, Perret said.
Food insecurity, or a lack of consistent access to nutritious food, has remained in Central Texas, Perret said.
“We can get food to about 330,000 [food-insecure people] every year at the current food bank,” he said. “So we’re falling short of meeting the need in Central Texas by about 30 percent. This facility is going to give us the opportunity to close that gap significantly.”
CAFB has been fundraising for the $23.5 million, 135,000-square-foot food bank, Perret said. More than $1 million remains to be raised, Perret said.
Kitchens on-site feature new grills, stoves, dishwashers, sinks and prep areas as well as blast freezers.[/caption]
The food bank will feature cold and frozen food storage space, dry food storage space, a product recovery area, 15 food loading docks and a kitchen with cold rooms, blast freezers, grills and stoves to prepare meals. Other space will include offices and cubicles, meeting rooms, a conference room, a media room, a break room, a gym, a lobby and outdoor teaching gardens.
As of May, CAFB has about 95 employees. With the new facility, the food bank will bring more jobs to the area by increasing that total to 125 over time, Perret said.
Volunteers check and sort food for safety in the product recovery area. The Congress facility has capacity for about 80 volunteers in the area; the new facility has space for 115. Volunteers range from individuals to corporations, including Southwest Austin-based NXP Semiconductor N.V. and SolarWinds Inc.
“The new facility is about 2.2 times larger [than the Congress facility],” Perret said. “But the storage capacity will be 3.6 times over what we have today.”
Warehouse storage will increase significantly at the new location, allowing for more food distribution.[/caption]
CAFB will start relocating food from the old facility June 1. In mid-June, operations will shut down at the Congress facility for a week while everything else is relocated. CAFB will open for business June 20, followed by a ribbon cutting and dedication July 7.
“We are so close,” Perret said. “We have been working on this thing for so long. To get into the new building and to be able to do more to support the community with the amount of space we have, to make it a better working environment for my employees, it’s going to be a win for everybody.”