JONESBORO, AR (KAIT)-Region 8 residents rejoiced as a ground breaking ceremony was held to begin construction for the new charitable food distribution center.
Executive Director for the Food Bank, Christie Jordan, says this project has been a long time coming.
"This has been a multi year project, " Jordan said. "We actually started working on this with the Reynolds Foundation back in 2001. We were doing a state wide project, at the time, that culminated into the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance. That was such a successful project that they extended the opportunity for us to apply for another grant specifically for our food bank."
Jordan says the current building they're in doesn't have the space they need.
"The problem in our current facility is we don't have the dry and cold storage we need to be able to accept all the food donations that are offered, " Jordan commented. "We've actually had to turn away some food donations because we didn't have proper storage and we won't have to do that with this new facility."
Jordan says the new building will allow them to meet the need in the community.
"This year we will distribute around 2.8 million pounds of food, which is more than we did last calendar year. But we need to actually be doing more like 5 to 6 million pounds to meet the needs of our families living in poverty in Northeast Arkansas."
The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation is building and equipping this facility for the food bank.
Jordan says it will have a lot of cold storage, a lot more warehouse space and even meeting and office spaces.
Jordan says she and staff are thrilled things are getting underway.
"I don't know that this is all completely real, yet. It's exciting and we know that before long we'll be in our new home and that's great."
Jordan says the building wouldn't have become a reality without the help of the community.
"Just like the day to day work we do at the food bank, we depend on the generosity of others," Jordan said. "To actually be eligible for this grant with the Reynolds Foundation, we had to raise a 20% match. That number was 1.6 million dollars. Northeast Arkansas stepped up to the plate and made those pledges and helped us reach that goal so that we're here today breaking ground on this new facility."
Jordan says they hope to have the building complete and be moved in by this time next year.
For more information about the Food Bank of Northeast Arkansas, log onto this website.