GALESBURG, Ill. — After months of hard labor, construction is almost complete on River Bend Food Bank's new branch in Galesburg.
"We actually started talking about this project, way back in 2017. There was a work that was being done in the community to identify needs of social determinants of health. And one of the things that that group came together to talk about was the need for food. So food, pantries would have faster, more access to food," CEO of Galesburg Community Foundation, Joshua Gibb said.
The 13,400 square foot facility comes with 4,600 square feet of freezer feet. The distribution center will be shared by both River Bend Food Bank and Fish Food Bank.
"This colocation opportunity with fish food pantry, we recognized that it was a great opportunity to have them share this space, and be on a bus route and be very accessible to their guests, while being really close to our distribution point," said River Bend Food Bank's Liz Dierolf.
Dierolf said the demand for their services has only skyrocketed in the last few months.
"We're now seeing from last month to this month, we have seen almost a 50% increase in visits to our Northpark and our Southpark Mall."
She attributes the increase in demand to the higher cost of living.
"Inflation is continuing to be an issue for a lot of families. We know that high prices, gas, all of the factors that are coming into play now over the summer, will have some lasting effects on our communities. And we really want to make sure that we are accessible to those neighborhoods and those hunger relief partners who want to get food to people who need it," said Dierolf.
The project is expected to be up and running in early September.