The Thurston County Food Bank, well known for its downtown Olympia services, is looking to expand to the Lacey area, with not only a second food bank, but also some key amenities, according to its executive director and some Lacey-based partners.
In addition to adding a 10,000-square-foot food bank, a farm stand and a victory garden also are planned. The garden will be overseen by the nonprofit Garden-Raised Bounty (GRuB) and tended by veterans.
It’s not always easy to find a site for a second food bank because of potential neighborhood concerns, Food Bank Executive Director Robert Coit said. But the Lacey Food Bank location at 7027 Martin Way E. is largely commercial, he said. Plus, the victory garden, which will provide fresh food for clients, will act as a green buffer between the food bank and the Tanglewilde neighborhood.
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.
Coit expects work on the $2.5 million project to begin this winter, with the farm stand and victory garden under way first.
The food bank paid $600,000 for the site and has received $200,000 from the city of Lacey after the city was awarded a community development block grant. The city, North Thurston Public Schools and Lacey South Sound Chamber of Commerce plan to raise funds for the project.
“We understand the issue of hunger and homelessness,” Lacey Mayor Andy Ryder told The Olympian’s editorial board this week. “It’s a good example of us trying to step up to being part of the solution.”
There are some compelling reasons to bring a food bank to the Lacey area, city officials said.
City Manager Scott Spence said 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 said.