Food Bank breaks ground on Milford facility
MILFORD – The Food Bank of Delaware broke ground on an 11.5-acre parcel of land Thursday for a new facility in Milford to fulfill and expand its operations.
“Today is an exciting day for Milford and the residents of Kent and Sussex counties,” State Sen. Dave Wilson (R-Milford) said in a statement. “The groundbreaking ceremony today for the new state-of-the-art Food Bank of Delaware will bring our community one step closer to bringing food insecurity to an end. I look forward to the great things to come from this new project and the Food Bank of Delaware.”
The $34 million facility will be a 67,000-square-foot building on Delaware Veterans Boulevard to be built and opened in the fall of 2023. It will replace the 16,000-square-foot facility on Mattlind Way, which is less than a mile away from the new site.
The building will be designed and constructed by the Becker Morgan Group, a Maryland-based architecture and engineering firm, that will take an estimated 14 months to complete.
The Food Bank determined in 2020 that a new facility was necessary to continue food contribution and community development operations.
“The pandemic magnified what we already knew – the Milford Branch is operating significantly beyond capacity, and as a result we are renting space. We cannot effectively serve our community’s most vulnerable in our current building on Mattlind Way,” Food Bank of Delaware President and CEO Cathy Kanefsky said in a statement. “This campaign is more than bricks and mortar… it’s about building hope for a better tomorrow. So many come to the Food Bank of Delaware feeling hopeless, but leave hopeful. We are transforming lives.”
The Food Bank of Delaware is headquartered in Newark on a 5-acre farm in an 80,000-square-foot facility. The organization’s current Milford branch opened in 200, but today is operating at 163% capacity. To compensate for services, the organization has been renting space for the Healthy Pantry Center and its staff in the Independence Commons Business Park.
The Food Bank purchased the 11.5-acre of land from the city of Milford in July 2021 for $460,000. Nearly 3 acres will be dedicated to create the Hunger Relief Garden for a yearly projection of 15,000 pounds of produce and educational purposes. The garden is in partnership with the Delaware Veterans Home and the Greater Milford Boys and Girls Club.
The new facility will expand cold storage, refrigeration, and freezer capacity by 114% to store and distribute more than 3.7 million additional pounds of fresh foods like fruits and vegetables, dairy products, and meats, according to officials. The dry storage space will increase to distribute an additional 6 million pounds of non-perishable food. It will also extend and include the Healthy Pantry Center, volunteer services room, training programs, and an on-site cafe.
The organization launched a financial campaign to raise the remaining $10 million needed to build the new facility at the groundbreaking ceremony. According to its Fiscal Year 2021 annual report, the Food Bank has received $374,707 in capital campaign contributions.
Notably, the Swank Family Foundation donated $356,000 in May 2021 and the Franklin P. and Arthur W. Perdue Foundation, the charitable arm of Perdue Farms, donated $250,000 to the organization for construction funds in September 2022.