After a year of construction, GHP FISH Food Bank is about to open

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Construction of the new Gig Harbor Peninsula FISH Food Bank building at 4303 Burnham Dr. began in November. The new facility is set to officially open on Wednesday, July 13.

Community volunteers helped move everything from the old building to the new one, which is a few hundred meters away.

This will be the first time the public has seen the completed project since a virtual progress tour in April.

The public is invited to celebrate the grand opening with GHP FISH Food Bank and Community Services with a ribbon cutting at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, July 12. After the inauguration ceremony, the public will be given a tour of the new building.

The total cost of the project turned out to be just under the $8 million they had anticipated.

The city donated $500,000 to the food bank. The GHP FISH food bank collected the rest of the money with the help of the community to cover the cost of the construction, which amounted to almost 3 million dollars, the works on the site, the process of permits , furniture and a security endowment fund to keep the facility running for years to come. come, among other costs.

“We were able to stay on budget in large part because of the amazing company Washington Patriots Construction, who did everything they could to keep costs down, including planning ahead by purchasing materials before prices hit. of wood do not increase. We haven’t been impacted by all the high costs the pandemic has brought,” Ron Coen, chairman of the board of food bank GHP FISH, told The Gateway.

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Volunteer Thad Frampton hands Sergio Andrade a box of diapers to stack at the new FISH Food Bank facility in Gig Harbor on Friday, July 8, 2022. The new building offers a larger clothing store section, financial counseling rooms private rooms, a conference room allowing the board to meet and additional offices for staff. Claire Grant [email protected]

Weekly meetings with the construction company and project contractors kept construction moving forward, Coen said. The building opens its doors about a year after the start of the work.

“We started 46 years ago with no idea what the future held. We now have a building that offers maximum flexibility, improving the way we do things,” Coen said.

The new building offers larger sections and new additions that were not in the old building.

There is a larger clothing store section, private financial board rooms, a boardroom for the board to meet, and additional offices for staff.

The old building had only one office for meeting and storage needs.

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FISH Food Bank volunteer Rich Peterson helps clean up the old building and into their new facility on Friday, July 8, 2022. The new facility is scheduled to officially open on Wednesday, July 13. Clare Grant [email protected]

The food bank shopping experience that was suspended during the pandemic is back for visitors. They can grab a shopping cart and shop around the grocery section to pick out the items their family needs. It will be the first time since the start of the pandemic that buyers will be able to browse for themselves. For the past two years, food bank volunteers packed whatever visitors wanted into bags they could take home.

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The former FISH Food Bank location in Gig Harbor is moving a few hundred yards to its new location. Since COVID, people have not been able to come in and do their own shopping, so the new location is also a return of in-person shopping. Claire Grant [email protected]

Being back in person allows visitors and volunteers to share stories, connect and have social interactions, Coen said.

Land rented for $1 per year

A local landlord offered to give GHP FISH a 99-year lease on the land for the new building for $1 a year.

“A local family knew we had been looking for a property for years,” Coen said.

The building belongs to the food bank, but the land belongs to the owner.

“We want to be as useful to the local community as possible. Inflation has made it really tough (for) a lot of people and we’re doing everything we can to make people’s lives better,” Coen said.

It has become difficult for people to stay at home, making buying food their second priority, Coen said. Coen believes these trends are primarily due to the pandemic and current inflation issues.

Over the past few months, they have seen more people come to the food bank than before. The past three months have been the biggest in terms of visitor numbers, according to Sue Lockett John, communications coordinator at the food bank.

The food bank currently serves about 1,100 people a month, Coen said.

“I can’t thank the community enough and hope they know it’s not just here now, but for generations to come,” Coen said of the new building.

The main management staff of the food bank is made up of just over 20 volunteers. Most are retired and now donate their time to the food bank.

“When people retire, they have all these skills and resources, which really shows in all of our staff,” food bank coordinator Jan Coen told The Gateway.

This story was originally published July 11, 2022 10:45 a.m.

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