ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- The Second Harvest Food Bank of North Florida has nearly doubled in size from its previous location. It now covers more than 6,700 square feet.
"We needed to have a bigger functional facility to be able to pick up food from farms, packing houses, from three counties," said Bruce Ganger, Second Harvest executive director.
A study by the University of North Florida found the Second Harvest Food Bank had to double in size by 2015 to meet growing needs.
In the past, the St. Augustine facility was so small it had to pick up food from the surrounding three counties and bring it back to Jacksonville, where there was a refrigerator and freezer.
The new facility now has those appliances, which save the food bank time and money.
"Now because we have this larger facility, you can pick up food from packing houses, farms, larger distribution centers and bring it into the St.Augustine food bank and then leave here, whats going to be distributed back into the community," Ganger said.
Ganger showed Action News a map that shows what the distribution used to look like.and what its starting to look like now. he calls it -- more efficient.
"It's taken some pressure off the Jacksonville facility," Ganger said.
Ganger says he was able to move into the facility with help from the community.
"We had a large corporate donor who offered us a match opportunity; for every dollar the community raised, they would match dollar to dollar," said Ganger
Although the facility is now fully functioning, Ganger says now they are working on upping the number of people they serve.
"Last year, we distributed almost 22 million pounds of food," he said.
By 2015, 40 million pounds of food will be needed.
Ganger said he knows that number isn't decreasing anytime soon.
"We've never seen the lines longer at our own doors and at the distributions we do directly," said Ganger.
Ganger says they are always looking for food to help feed local families and money to fund their new facility.
Ganger tells Action News more than 40 percent of people receiving food through Second Harvest are working families.
Action News also learned the new facility cost about $180,000.