February 15, 2022: Davenport, Iowa – Today, the Food Bank announced the EXPANDING to End Hunger capital campaign project to expand its facility at 4010 Kimmel Drive in Davenport, Iowa. This much-needed additional space will drive growth for the organization and increase its capacity to end hunger in its 23-county service area.
This significant expansion, which includes plans to construct an additional 25,000 square feet and renovate existing spaces, begins this year during the Food Bank’s 40th anniversary, reflecting decades of growth and change.
River Bend Food Bank was formed in response to an economic crisis in the farming industry. On February 1, 1982, the Food Bank distributed its first food products, embarking on the path leading to today’s milestone. In its first year, the Food Bank distributed 158,300 meals through 70 partner agencies. Today, over 415,000 meals are distributed each week with the help of over 300 partners across five counties in Iowa and 18 counties in Illinois.
“In 2015, River Bend Food Bank set a goal of tripling food distribution by 2025,” said Mike Miller, President & CEO of River Bend Food Bank. “Because of tremendous support from the community, we achieved that goal 5 years early, growing from 7.3 to over 22 million meals distributed annually. But this unprecedented growth has our facility bursting at the seams. The Expanding to End Hunger campaign will provide enough capacity to feed every person who does not have enough food in the communities we serve.”
Currently located in a 60,000 square foot warehouse in West Davenport, River Bend Food Bank has distributed food through pantries in churches, schools, senior living complexes, and community action organizations since 1982.
Project NOW, based in Rock Island, Illinois, has been a partner agency with the Food Bank since the beginning.
“Project NOW and the Food Bank are intractably bound together in a mission to serve families and communities furthest from economic security,” reflects executive director, Reverend Dwight D. Ford. “The Food Bank understands that poverty is not a mindset but a reality, which means children who do not have enough to eat struggle through classes and adults miss dinner, not because of a busy schedule, but finances. Those who face such challenges have an abiding friend in the Food Bank in both advocacy and action! Our future is bright because of their expansion of facilities, capacities, and partnerships with Project NOW and others, all working to end the causes of food insecurity and poverty.”
This increased capacity will allow the Food Bank to distribute 50% more meals (a projected 35 million meals from the fiscal year 2021 total of 23 million) to fulfill the unmet needs of people experiencing hunger.
Mayor of the city of Davenport, Mike Matson, is excited about the growth of the Food Bank and the decision to expand its current location within the city. “As Mayor, I know that partnerships are the key to the success of our community,” said Matson. “River Bend Food Bank does a tremendous job in their efforts to end hunger in our community by partnering with school pantries, churches, and community action organizations. These partnerships are essential to providing our residents with access to the food they need.”
A hunger-free community means children are focused, attentive, and productive in school; it means adults can meet life’s challenges more effectively; it means seniors don’t have to choose between paying for medication and eating breakfast. This is a unique moment in time to bring the community together to create a facility that will shape the lives of future generations.
However, it is only by sustaining the current momentum and continuing to build on it that the organization will consistently meet the entire community need in the years to come.
“River Bend Food Bank’s expansion comes at a critical time for the 23 counties it serves. Especially as food prices and food insecurity continue to rise,” said AJ Loss, Bush Construction President/CEO. “By increasing their food storage capacity, the Food Bank affirms its commitment to a hunger-free Iowa and Illinois. We’re proud of the Food Bank’s vision to accommodate larger volunteer groups and increase its accessibility and security. We’re thrilled to help bring the project to life.”
At a ceremonial groundbreaking event held today at the Food Bank’s warehouse in west Davenport, the organization announced that the proposed capital project will expand the current warehouse and add critical space for volunteers and staff.
Construction and renovation will begin this summer, with an expected completion date of late summer 2023. During that time, the Food Bank will actively seek the community’s support through financial donations of any size to complete this crucial project. The Food Bank has grown out of the community’s need and with the community’s support, and the organization looks forward to celebrating this new chapter in its evolution with the public next year.