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More Space For Fresh Food At Food Bank's New Salinas Home

Three years ago, someone set fire to the Food Bank for Monterey County and no one has ever been arrested. The arson destroyed a fleet of vehicles and caused other damage.  It also set in motion plans to build a new facility. 

"We came back bigger, better and stronger," says Melissa Kendrick as she weaves between tall racks of bread and large bins of canned goods in a brand new warehouse.  She’s Executive Director of the Food Bank for Monterey County.

“Please pardon our mess. We just started moving in less than a week ago,” Kendrick says.

Their old space was a rental and not built to be a food bank.  The new facility on West Rossi Street in Salinas is built on land the Food Bank now owns and designed to meet local needs.

The facility has a 20,000 square foot walk-in refrigerator. Now, the Food Bank won’t ever have to turn away fresh produce donations from local agriculture companies.   

“We are going to divert every strawberry, every shred of lettuce, every artichoke into the mouths of those that most need it,” says Kendrick.

The Food Bank is the primary source of food for 150 agencies that distribute food throughout Monterey County.  It serves one in five residents. Kendrick says the new space means the food they get will be healthier.

I hope we’ll be a 70/30 food bank in that 70-percent of what we're distributing is perishables, 30-percent is non-perishables,” Kendrick says.

The land and new facility cost $10-million, half of which has already been raised through donations.  Kendrick hopes to raise the rest by the end of this year.

As the Food Bank moves into the new facility, it’s also getting ready to serve 3,000 Thanksgiving Day meals at the Monterey County Fairgrounds.