Dusquene, PA – Since the decline of the steel industry in 1980, the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank (GPCFB) has actively strived to feed the hungry. They serve an 11-county area with over 400 partner agencies (including smaller regional and rural food banks, food pantries, homeless shelters) and seven Partner Distribution Organizations (PDOs), which made it possible to distribute 35 million meals in 2019.
In addition to sourcing, warehousing, and distribution, the food bank is actively engaged in confronting issues of chronic hunger, poor nutrition, and health. GPCFB has significantly reduced the amount of highly processed food in their distribution system to accommodate accessibility to healthy, nutritious foods, however, they lacked the floor and cooler space to efficiently support this goal.
The Food Bank’s renovation and expansion plans were cut short when the increased distribution needs born of the Covid-19 crisis required use of the capital campaign funds from which the Food Bank is largely financed. GPCFB partnered with Rural Development Partners for $16MM of NMTC allocation (and other investors) to move forward with their aspirations. They plan to create a more streamlined, efficient, and safer facility, with the capacity to expand services to provide for larger quantities of healthy food distribution, while proactively encouraging healthy lifestyles, expounding work force development, and community education.
They broke ground September 2020 for these revitalizing changes: (anticipated completion March 2022)
GPCFB’s project fits nicely with RDP’s mission for rural development, providing equity equivalent debt to rural-supporting industries including distribution and food access. Four of the 11 counties the Food Bank serves are designated rural: Greene, Indiana, Lawrence, and Somerset, and home to 34,040 food insecure individuals representing the area’s most food insecure population.