Treasure Coast Food Bank welcomed guests to its new 25,000 square-foot storage and volunteer packing facility Friday morning with the kickoff of its annual Pack the House pack-a-thon.
“I want to thank you and welcome you to Pack the House,” said Ed Skvarch, Treasure Coast Food Bank’s Board Chair. “I’m excited about the new facility and all the great things Treasure Coast Food Bank is doing. The value of a volunteer per hour exceeds $25, so your contribution to Treasure Coast Food Bank is very powerful.”
Volunteers, sponsors and local dignitaries were the first to see the new space on Kings Highway that will enable Treasure Coast Food Bank to meet the expanded need for food more efficiently. This year, Pack the House Presented by Wells Fargo is a weeklong event, and throughout the week, volunteers will work in socially distanced shifts to pack 10,000 holiday food boxes in the new space.
At the kickoff, Treasure Coast Food Bank thanked sponsors and volunteers with a breakfast provided by students from its Culinary Training Academy. Walmart Supply Chain is this year’s Ceremonial Sponsor, and the American Public Works Association is the Kick-Off Sponsor. Humana is a Supporting Sponsor, and Shift Sponsors are Cleveland Clinic Martin Health and Fort Pierce Utilities Authority.
The COVID-19 pandemic proved that Treasure Coast Food Bank could not sustain the long term need for food in its existing space, which also couldn’t allow for volunteers to work within the guidelines of safe social distances, said Judith Cruz, President and CEO of Treasure Coast Food Bank. With the help of corporate and government partners, Treasure Coast Food Bank had found other places to store the overflow of food over the last few months, she said.
“That’s why it’s so important that you’re all here today,” Cruz added. “Last year, volunteers donated approximately 40,000 hours to use, which is almost the equivalent of 25 full-time employees. Without you, we would not be able to do our work.”
Having the additional space will enable Treasure Coast Food Bank to store an additional 900 pallet racks of food and expand its freezer storage capacity at its headquarters on Angle Road.
“We expect to be in this space for a couple of years while working on our long-term plan for a consolidated facility of at least 100,000 square feet,” Cruz said.
Morning and afternoon shifts are available each day through Oct. 30 for a limited number of volunteers to pack the holiday boxes. Registration is required in advance, and to ensure that everyone is able to work while safely distanced, no walk-up registrations will be allowed.
While the number of in-person participants will be limited, everyone can participate in Treasure Coast Food Bank’s Virtual Pack the House by sponsoring a holiday meal box. A $30 gift will provide a meal box for a family this holiday season.
To participate in person, make a donation, or to become a Pack the House sponsor, visit www.stophunger.org/PTH2020.