JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Feeding Northeast Florida (FNEF) is renovating a four-building, warehouse complex sitting on 12 and-a-half acres on 5245 Old Kings Road in North Jacksonville.
The campus will add an additional 100,000 square feet to the organization’s current operations and serve as home to the region’s largest nonprofit food bank and hunger relief networking organization.
President and CEO Susan King described the overhaul as a remodel that will uniquely address the organization’s ability to grow smoothly and efficiently to become an even better community partner. According to King, renovations will not alter the footprint of the four-building structure.
“It’s a full remodel of an old building complex,” she said. “The electrical, plumbing, and sewer systems, plus the building’s exterior will get an overhaul. A lot of interior and exterior work with no expansion per say.”
Construction overhaul also includes adding a biodigester system to transform food waste into compost, ”as opposed to dumping it in landfills,” along with energy efficient power generators - complete with solar panels on coolers and freezers - to “Create,” King says, “A sustainable food bank for today as well as the future.”
To expand the non-profit’s current operations, the complex will also include a warehouse, a distribution center, plus an operations center. King said the expansions will allow for a “safe” influx volunteers, “the backbone of our organization”, along with space for agencies to shop and pick up online orders.
“Doubling our cooler and freezer space allows us to accept large donations and the new processing center will enable us to repackage bulk items that we couldn’t accept before,” she said.
The campus will also serve as an educational facility to train FNEF community partners in food safety, food educational programming, proper inspection practices, sustainability projects, and disaster recovery training to “build and grow their capacity to serve at the community level.”
King added that today, more families are food insecure because of the the rising cost of inflation, fuel and “wages that have not kept up with the cost of living.”
“There seems to be no end in sight for families living from paycheck to paycheck,” she said. “Today, 30 percent of the families seen by our agencies have never accessed charity food before. These are your neighbors who work really hard every day who can’t simply can’t stretch that paycheck.”
She added that the new complex will help FNEF meet the needs of communities that continue to grow.
“Getting healthy, nutritious food into the hands of those in need is our top priority at Feeding Northeast Florida,” she concluded. “This new campus will allow us to expand both the depth and breadth of our services. We are so grateful for the support of our community in helping us continue our mission to end hunger here at home.”
Campus construction is expected to begin shortly and be completed by the end of this year.
Along with addressing food insecurity, poverty and poor health, FNEF provides food resources and “hope” to help residents in Baker, Bradford, Clay, Duval, Flagler, Nassau, Putnam, and St. Johns Counties who “struggle to feed themselves and their families.”
“Feeding Northeast Florida works daily to find solutions to address the issues of food insecurity and poverty through awareness, advocacy, education, and action in ways that promote dignity, respect and empowerment,” they said.
For more information, visit feedingnefl.org
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