Interfaith Food Ministry will be able to provide food more often with its new building, which closed escrow this week.
The 440 Henderson St. location in Grass Valley is more than double the square footage of the current location at 551 Whiting St., also in Grass Valley, and offers the expansion of various aspects of the organization.
Since its beginning in 1987, Interfaith has fed 500,000 seniors, families with children and single adults, according to the Interfaith Food Ministry website. About 850 people per week seek food assistance with the organization, up from 500 people in 2007.
The new space holds larger refrigeration and freezer systems, allowing the organization to return to providing food every week for families rather than an every-other-week frequency implemented nearly a year ago because of increased demand and lack of parking.
“We are hoping to accommodate more fresh produce and more meats we can freeze and distribute,” said Interfaith Food Ministry Director Sue Van Son, adding the parking situation is much improved from the previous space as well.
A larger client area with a covered outdoors area will also shield waiting clients from the elements, Van Son said. The distribution area will be larger and allow for faster service.
“With the new building, we’ll have plenty of space, plenty of parking and be able to keep up with demand,” she said. “We’re really excited about it.”
About 10-15 new families register every day, and their receipt of food has had to be regulated because of lack of ability to accommodate every family, Van Son said.
The current hours when families can pick up food is every other week, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
“We’ve had people come on weeks they can’t receive food and are just desperate; and we have to say we can’t do it,” Van Son said. “It’s really pretty heartbreaking and that’s why we’re so committed to return to that once a week distribution.”
Increasing distribution is key to providing for both those who are on a fixed income and consistently need the service, as well as those who are going through an unexpected catastrophe or job loss.
“When you don’t have any resource coming, you need a lot of help, and we want to be there to help,” Van Son said. “Feeding families, fueling hope. That’s what one lady said when I asked ‘What does Interfaith mean to you?’ She said, ‘Another day of hope.’ That’s what we’re really about.”
Construction on the new building began Tuesday and is being completed by Sierra Foothill Construction through general contractor Keoni Allen. Hansen Bros. Enterprises is also working on the project, in addition to numerous volunteers.
The building will tentatively be finished at the end of February with a move-in date during the end of March, Van Son said, adding the building was acquired with a loan through the U.S. Department of Agriculture arranged by Interfaith Food Ministry Board President Bob Thurman.
The new building was $501,000 with construction costs totaling about $200,000, Van Son said, adding the payback of the loan relies on community support, which the organization has been grateful for.
“We have increased costs and would love it if people would be willing to help us by sending a check to Interfaith or donating online,” she said.
Interfaith will host a fundraising spaghetti dinner for $10 and prize drawing 5 to 8 p.m. Nov. 8 at Paulette’s Country Kitchen at 875 Sutton Way, Grass Valley. The organization also has an Operation Turkey family sponsorship program in which for a $20 donation, a family in need can be given a Thanksgiving meal, and for $40, a family can be provided a Thanksgiving and Christmas meal.
The previous building at 551 Whiting St. in Grass Valley is owned by Interfaith Food Ministry and is on the market through Lock Richards Commercial Realty. The sale of the previous building will contribute to the payment for the current place.
“We could use help with general operating expenses, or if people would like to specifically donate to the facility or Operation Turkey or the general fund, they can,” Van Son said. “However they want to donate.”
The address for Interfaith Food Ministry donations is P.O. Box 1174, Grass Valley, CA 95945.
For information, visit interfaithfoodministry.org or contact 530-273-8132.
To contact Staff Writer Jennifer Terman, email email@example.com or call 530-477-4230.