Rural Development Partners Helps Wilmington Food Bank Expand

Photo is rendering of Food Bank of Central and Eastern NC’s new Wilmington Branch.

Forest City, IA – Rural Development Partners allocated $12.5 million in New Markets Tax Credits to close the funding gap for Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina to expand their Wilmington Branch. The investment enabled the Food Bank to complete construction without delay while directing more capital toward operations. The new facility triples the size of Wilmington’s old location, allowing them to expand their service region and partner agencies, create jobs to support the broader distribution, and efficiently fight food insecurity.

“Rural Development Partners is proud to play a small part in helping fight food insecurity, and we know that the Wilmington Food Bank will now be better equipped to meet the needs of those in both the non-metro and metro counties that they serve.” – Dan Helgeson, CEO of Rural Development Partners

Wilmington’s new branch will be located on a five-acre tract of land located at the former site of Village Plaza Shopping Center, destroyed by fire in 2018, and home to the areas only grocery store. The new hub will accommodate substantially more dry food, and the 4,500 SF cooler and freezer space will allow for significantly more distribution of fresh healthy foods. A 2,500 SF commercial teaching and production kitchen will provide for increased nutritional opportunities; overall, the facility will be in a good position to support workforce development, health education, a learning farm, and provide food access for nearby residents.

“We know we can’t solve hunger in the Cape Fear region alone and we’re so thankful for partnerships like this one with Rural Development Partners,” said Ashley C. McCumber, President & CEO of the Food Bank. “Their support through the New Markets Tax Credits ensures that we can continue to nourish people and address hunger at its root causes for years to come.”

Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina

The Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina is a nonprofit organization that provides food for 34-counties, the largest hunger relief organization in the region. The Wilmington Branch is one of 6 distribution centers utilized by the Food Bank. It serves as a distribution hub, receives food drive donations, is a space for volunteers to give back, and a base of operations for nutrition and educational programs including kids programming and benefits outreach. The new Wilmington facility will serve the counties of New Hanover, Brunswick, Pender, Columbus, and Duplin which encompass rural communities.

Rural Development Partners

Rural Development Partners (RDP) utilizes the New Markets Tax Credit (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 food to low-income communities. From 2004 through 2022, RDP has won eleven NMTC awards from the U.S. Treasury totaling $701.7 million. To learn more about RDP or the NMTC program, visit our website or social media platforms: FacebookLinkedIn, or YouTube. See how RDP and New Markets Tax Credits are revitalizing communities nationwide!