The Food Bank of Puerto Rico announced a $3 million-plus investment in new headquarters in the town of Carolina, possible through a donation from Unidos por Puerto Rico.
The donation will help the nonprofit strengthen its mission to alleviate hunger in vulnerable communities on the island, officials said.
The new 30,600 square-foot structure is expected to be move-in ready by early 2019. The Food Bank of Puerto Rico expects to be able to support its client base through a “broader, effective and safe structure and logistics.”
“Our goal is to improve the capacity, quality and continuity of services we provide and this new homes allows it,” said Food Bank of Puerto Rico Chair Edwin J. Pérez. “Last year, in a limited space, the Bank helped distribute more than 18 million pounds of food, served 12 million meals, benefiting about two million people.”
The new headquarters will include facilities with ample warehouse, distribution center, administrative offices, and parking for the Bank to operate at full capacity. The nonprofit is expected to integrate 20 full-time employees, plus provide space for about 100 volunteers.
“For Puerto Rico it is essential that the Bank has facilities that provide strategic access for immediate assistance to those in need,” said Mariely Rivera, Executive Director of Unidos por Puerto Rico.
“Situations of extreme poverty, the impact of a natural disaster — like the one we lived in 2017 — always carry the risk of a food crisis. Thanks to donations received through Unidos por Puerto Rico, we have channeled this donation to the Food Bank has an ideal space to safeguard supplies and keep food, water, and other necessities so that they can continue their work,” Rivera said.
Currently, as part of its 30th anniversary, the Food Bank is running an awareness and fundraising campaign to raise awareness about the problem affecting thousands of people who have nothing to eat. As part of the effort, the nonprofit has declared Sept. 28 “National Hunger Awareness Day.”
Numbers show that 52 percent of Puerto Ricans live below poverty levels, which limit their access to food. The Bank provides service through more than 125 notprofits assigned to its program.
It also receives support and donations from the food industry, individuals, companies and other institutions. The Bank accepts as food donation, money, personal care products, volunteer time, and others, it noted.