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North Valley Food Bank announces expansion, capital campaign

by Daily Inter Lake
| March 5, 2021 12:00 AM

North Valley Food Bank is breaking ground Tuesday on an expanded version of its building at 251 Flathead Ave. in Whitefish.

In the past year North Valley Food Bank has responded to a dramatic increase in customers throughout the northern Flathead Valley. In 2020, the food bank provided groceries weekly to more than 30,000 families in Whitefish, as well as those living between Essex and the Yaak, and added four mobile pantries to Essex, Evergreen, Trego and Olney.

In 2021, North Valley Food Bank intends to expand the existing

building in order to increase refrigeration and freezer space to store and distribute more nutritious, perishable foods. It plans to expand its dry-goods warehouse space and loading dock to keep up with the additional routes.

Later in the year, when the pandemic subsides, North Valley Food Bank would like to switch to a “Choice Model” and offer its customers both drive-thru and grocery store models, which will reduce food waste since people can choose what they want to take home.

The pantry intends to install a commercial kitchen in the building in the final phase of the renovation project. A commercial kitchen would allow the food bank team to offer food preparation skills training to targeted groups such as youth-at-risk and developmentally disabled adults, with the goal of finding jobs for them at Whitefish’s restaurants and hotels. A commercial kitchen would also allow the food bank to preserve more food from local growers for distribution to its customers.

North Valley Food Bank is launching a capital campaign to raise the funds to pay for the construction and equipment costs. Donation can be made by check or in person, or online at northvalleyfoodbank.org. For more information about the capital project, contact Sophie Albert, executive director, at sophie@northvalleyfoodbank.org.