Rural Development Partners of Forest City (IA) allocated $15 million in New Markets Tax Credits (NMTC) to Freestore Food Bank (FSFB) of Cincinnati (OH). The funding will help expand the capacity and efficiency of the distribution center to fight food insecurity in a twenty-county tri-state region. FSFB is the largest emergency food and service provider in Greater Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky, and Southeast Indiana, providing over 41 million meals a year through a network of more than 574 partner agencies.
“Free Store” was founded in 1971 by Frank Gerson, and in 1979 became a founding member of Feeding America. Demand increased by nearly 200% from 2009-2019, forcing the need for additional warehouse storage in Wilder, KY. In 2020, the pandemic led to a 50% food distribution increase, as FSFB served 40+ million pounds of food to those in need causing significant strain on facilities not built to accommodate such increases.
FSFB’s “Growing Beyond Hunger” campaign launched just prior to the pandemic setting out to raise $30 million for the expansion. NMTCs will fill the funding gap for the new 224,000 square foot community resource and distribution center, allowing for retention of capital resources for mission driven operations. The expansion will increase the ability to ship and store food in the region and enable FSFB to expand their programs and services. The new facility will strategically incorporate operational efficiencies around warehousing and logistics freeing up valuable resources to focus on growth and expansion into underserved markets, and provide space to expand workforce development programs. The facility will include a 8,600 SF test kitchen and over 31,000 SF of cooler and freezer space, enabling a variety of services that encourage healthy food nutrition. The new facility is scheduled for completion the winter 2022.
This project fits nicely with RDP’s mission to increase food access in rural America. The expansion will also generate new healthy food-focused programs that help target rural communities and enable improved farmer alliance with increased capacity for fresh healthy food.
”RDP appreciates Freestore’s emphasis on overcoming rural food access barriers through advanced distribution systems, cooler/freezer expansion, and partnerships with local farmers.” – Jonathan Klaassen, CEO of Rural Development Partners
Freestore Foodbank is one of the 200 food bank members of Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization. The Foodbank’s mission is to improve lives by eliminating hunger in partnership with our community. Our vision is to create a hunger-free, healthy, and thriving community in the 20-county service area of Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana. For more information, please visit www.freestorefoodbank.org or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
“Our community has seen firsthand the impact of food insecurity, and over the last few years the pandemic has only heightened the need. Growing Beyond Hunger was launched to raise funds to meet the current and future capital needs of the organization, and expand into areas of our community who are underserved. RDP’s support will allow us to make our vision of a hunger-free, healthy, thriving community a reality.” – Kurt Reiber, President & CEO of the foodbank
Rural Development Partners
Rural Development Partners utilizes the NMTC program to help organizations relocate, renovate, or expand their operations in distressed rural communities. RDP is one of the nation’s few rural Community Development Entities with a national service territory. In addition to business/industry expansion, RDP has been instrumental in working with non-profit food bank distribution centers that have significant impact in highly distressed rural food deserts, bringing both high-quality jobs and fresh/healthy foods to low-income communities. From 2004 through 2021, RDP has won ten NMTC awards from the U.S. Treasury totaling $656.7 million. To learn more about RDP or the NMTC program, visit our website or social media platforms: Facebook, LinkedIn, or YouTube. See how RDP and NMTCs are revitalizing communities nationwide!