(From Press Release) – A dream five years and $9.5 million in the making will come to fruition at last, with the official debut and recognition of Yolo Food Bank’s new, 42,000 square foot purpose-built food distribution and operations facility, Saturday, August 24, 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. The event is free and includes activities and experiences for all ages. No RSVP is required.
The food security organization made the historic move to the new location at 233 Harter Avenue, Woodland, in March. The occasion was marked by a ceremonial move of food between the old and new warehouses, facilitated by community supporters. At the grand opening, the celebration will continue with a program of tributes and accolades, coupled with family-friendly activities and experiences intended to better acquaint the community with Yolo Food Bank’s work in pursuit of its mission to end hunger and malnutrition in Yolo County.
“Yolo Food Bank often is mistakenly assumed to be a giant food closet, and in our previous, sub-standard facility, it’s understandable that the
enormity of our operations couldn’t be comprehended easily,” commented Executive Director Michael Bisch. “However, in a space 300% larger, properly equipped with 400% more cool storage capacity, forklift-accessible racking, and a true loading dock for our fleet of vehicle and the convenience of the 70 local nonprofit partner organizations that we serve, the picture of Yolo Food Bank as a hub of food security at the core of Yolo County’s social safety net comes into clear view.”
Festivities will begin soon after 10:00 a.m. on the loading dock at the rear of the warehouse, with a ribbon cutting facilitated jointly by the Woodland, Davis and West Sacramento Chambers of Commerce. Visitors then will be invited into the warehouse, where a “food stage” will showcase words of welcome by Bisch and Yolo Food Bank Board President Tom Muller, remarks on the meaning of the day from lead campaign donors Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation and Sutter Health, a client testimonial, and the presentation of civic proclamations by federal, state, and county officials, as well as each of the four incorporated cities in Yolo County. Governmental participants are expected to include Congressman John Garmendi, Yolo County Board of Supervisors Chair Don Saylor, Woodland Mayor Xochitl Rodriguez and Councilmember Tom Stallard, Davis Mayor Brett Lee and Councilmember Lucas Frerichs, Winters Mayor Bill Biasi and Councilmember Jesse Loren, and West Sacramento Councilmember Babs Sandeen.
Following the formal program, expected to last less than an hour, community members of all ages will be invited through 1:00 p.m. to take part in guided tours of the facility, as well as six “Nourish Yolo”-themed activities:
- Nourish The Vision: Yolo Food Bank “The Basics” video presentation
- Nourish The Mind: fresh produce trivia game
- Nourish The Body: mini-Kids Farmers Market and mock food distribution
- Nourish The Spirit: photo booth with fruits and veggies
- Nourish The Community: “clean room” volunteer experience
- Nourish The Future: seed planting activity
Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation’s $2.5 million lead gift to the first phase of the “End Hunger Yolo” Capital Campaign was the spark that ignited the project, as well as the eventual $9.5 million raised in total by 130 donors during two phases of the campaign spanning five years. More than 90% of the final tally was the result of private philanthropy.
As the new facility neared completion, Sutter Health became inspired by the programmatic promise and capacity expansion potential of the site to meet the full food security need of Yolo County. The healthcare provider will announce an investment of $1 million over five years in the Food Bank at the grand opening event, which officially launches a matching $1 million campaign, “Nourish Yolo.” The new fundraising effort is intended to provide the working capital required to scale up operations to meet the county’s full food security need. Since its soft launch during the Spring, “Nourish Yolo” already has pledges from 10 donors accounting for one-third of the $1 million goal.
“We are enormously grateful to Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation for the foresight that this new facility could become a reality, and their generosity that set the stage for our work to not just continue in a more conducive setting, but to expand and to thrive in ways not imaginable when we were working to move four million pounds of food a year from what was essentially a cobbled together grouping of metal sheds,” Bisch stated. “And, now, thanks to Sutter Health’s further investment, we are able to continue to dream, and focus on the more than doubling of our current impact that is required in order to meet the county’s full food security need.”
It is estimated that Yolo Food Bank’s annual food collections and distributions will need to increase by at least 150% to achieve full food security for the county. With the support of the “Nourish Yolo” Campaign providing, the organization has a set a goal to scale up to achieve 50% of that increase by the end of the current fiscal next June 30.
Together with a network of nearly 200 partners, including nonprofit organizations; food donors; distributors; grantors and corporate, educational and faith-based volunteer groups, Yolo Food Bank presently serves the needs of 23,000 individuals in 19,000 households every month in pursuit of its mission to end hunger and malnutrition in Yolo County. Funds, food and time are needed to sustain these efforts. To donate, volunteer or learn more, visit www.yolofoodbank.org. Additional details regarding the grand opening event are available at www.yolofoodbank.org/grand-opening, or by phoning 530-668-0690.