Alameda Food Bank is thrilled to announce plans to relocate to an approximately 18,000 square foot permanent home in Alameda Point sometime next year. Started in a closet at Twin Towers United Methodist Church in 1977, Alameda Food Bank has been an essential service for residents seeking food assistance for decades and is excited at the prospect of expanding our strong community ties in this new space.
The new facility will be directly across the street from our current leased space on West Ranger Avenue and will include a new warehouse, a renovated building that will house our Island Community Market and administrative offices, as well as flex space where community partners can assist our clients with a host of other services designed to help them out of poverty.
The Planning Board has already approved the exterior design as compatible with the surrounding area. Once the City Council approves the conditions of the transfer of the property from the City to us, we can start planning and fundraising in earnest.
We’ve taken a bit of a circuitous path to get to this point, but the City of Alameda has been supportive throughout. They provided us with space in a trailer in a corner of what is now Sweeney Park when we outgrew our closet and supported the move from the trailer to our current location when the pandemic hit.
Plans for a permanent home for our Food Bank on Alameda Point have been discussed for years as part of the city’s Base Reuse Plan. In recent months, board member Steve Campbell has looked at virtually every available building and, in collaboration with City staff, determined that the 1.72-acre site directly across the street from our current location was the best option. The existing building, which dates from the 1980s, can be readily rehabbed for our needs and the balance of the site is sufficiently large for a warehouse and parking.
Former Planning Director Andrew Thomas has championed the project and, along with MBH Architects, has provided us with wise counsel. The Mayor and City Council have shown consistent support and see the project as an integral part of the overall plan for Alameda Point. Through collaboration with our Alameda Point neighbors, we hope to design a facility that is compatible with the emerging neighborhood while improving the quality of service we are able to provide to those who access Alameda Food Bank.
The larger Alameda community has been incredibly generous with their support over the last few years and we have a head start on the funding that will be required to complete the project. We plan to launch a capital campaign to raise the rest of the necessary funds next year.
The new facility will give us a permanent home and the space to create a more comfortable environment for families that come to us for food, including an indoor waiting area and a much-needed heating system. It will also enable us to fulfill our expanded vision of connecting those families to a wide range of supportive services. Our new facility will be designed to include space for local nonprofits to provide outreach efforts onsite, and will be a short walk from other supportive services such as Alameda Point Collaborative, Building Futures for Women and Children, and Operation Dignity that will be housed on the Base.
Our abiding hope is that we can integrate our services with those of other organizations to help the 1,000 Alameda families who seek our help each week access support for employment, housing, physical and mental health, and other challenges that contribute to their food insecurity. This new facility goes a long way to fulfilling that vision and gives “one-stop shopping” a whole new meaning.
The next hurdle is approval of the terms of the transfer by the City Council sometime in January. If you believe as we do that Alameda Food Bank is a critical part of the community’s social service infrastructure and support the completion of the new facility, please let the Mayor and City Council know by email or by participating in the public comment portion of the meeting. Your voice is critical to the future of AFB and the community it serves.
Teale Harden is Alameda Food Bank’s Executive Director.
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