On a night when city of Lacey employees donated $5,400 toward the creation of a Lacey Food Bank, the executive director of the Thurston County Food Bank, trumped that news with even bigger news.
Robert Coit announced to Lacey City Council last Thursday that the project has secured $750,000 from the state as part of a supplemental capital budget. That influx of money should move up the timeline of the Lacey Food Bank because now they can focus on the permitting process, rather than fundraising, Coit said.
Specific dates weren’t mentioned Thursday, but the project is expected to begin with a victory garden and farm stand, followed by a 10,000-square-foot food bank building at a later date. The Thurston County Food Bank spent $600,000 to acquire property at 7027 Martin Way E.
The food bank site, once occupied by Colonial Meats, became available in April. The 1.5-acre parcel is long and narrow. Once renovations are complete, the farm stand will front Martin Way, with the food bank itself behind it, and the victory garden behind that.
The garden will be overseen by the nonprofit Garden-Raised Bounty (GRuB) and tended by veterans.
The Lacey Food Bank has so far raised a little more than $1 million, including the $750,000 from the state and $200,000 from a community development block grant that was awarded by Lacey. North Thurston Public Schools and Lacey South Sound Chamber of Commerce also are fundraising partners.
The total budget is $3.5 million, partly because they want to add solar panels to the food bank, just like they have done at the Thurston County Food Bank in downtown Olympia and at a Tumwater location, too, Coit said.
Although it will be called the Lacey Food Bank, it’s actually in unincorporated Thurston County, which will handle the permitting process. However, it is likely to draw residents from throughout Lacey.
Lacey City Manager Scott Spence told The Olympian in August that more than 11,000 Lacey and Lacey-area residents use the Thurston County Food Bank. And within a three-mile radius of the Lacey Food Bank site are 1,200 children whose families’ low incomes make them eligible for free or reduced-price school lunches, Councilman Lenny Greenstein said.
Other partners at the new food bank: The YWCA and its Other Bank, which provides free personal hygiene products.
The downtown Olympia food bank location is open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The Lacey location will be open Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, which means the nonprofit will be able to serve customers six days a week, Coit has said.