Montgomery Area Food Bank cuts ribbon on massive new freezer
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The Montgomery Area Food Bank officially “cut the ribbon” on a massive new freezer Thursday. The MAFB, which serves 35 of Alabama’s 67 counties, says the 8,000 square foot freezer will allow it to source, store and distribute more food to communities across Alabama.
“It’s absolutely a gamechanger for us,” MAFB CEO Michael Coleman said, noting that it “really doubles our capacity to store frozen foods.”
Coleman explained the upgrade is “a big deal” because it allows the food bank to store proteins and gives MAFB flexibility with its smaller freezers to be able to maneuver food, “so we’ve become more effective, more efficient.”
The CEO says it’s about more than just providing food..
“We’re really focused on the health of our community, not just distributing food, but distributing healthy food,” he explained, noting the new freezer will allow MAFB to store considerable amounts of proteins.
In addition to the freezer, there is a 1,600 square foot refrigerated staging area that allows for the food to remain cold while it’s being loaded or unloaded from the delivery trucks.
With the pull of a cord, Coleman slid the door open to reveal the zero-degree freezer, which is able to hold 550 pallets of food.
MAFB was established in 1986 with the mission of nourishing the hungry, educating and mobilizing the community, engaging in partnerships that advance self-sufficiency, and gathering and distributing food to those in need.
And the need keeps growing, according to MAFB Director of Development, Steve Robinson.
There are 1.5 million people in MAFB’s coverage area and more than 360,000 of those residents are “food insecure,” Robison explained. In 2022, MAFB distributed what equates to 22 million meals.
Robinson said things have shifted since the pandemic started with a lot more people in need. He noted that a lot of donations have been made, but MAFB’s food racks “are getting low.”
The cost of food, fuel and a host of other things have only compounded the need.
“People are in need, and so we’re trying our absolute best to go out there and give them what they need,” Robison explained.
MAFB takes monetary and food donations. You can find more on their website or take part in upcoming fundraiser and outreach events.
The warehouse’s 8,000-square-foot freezer expansion brings the total square footage of the distribution center to 93,000 square feet and the total number of warehouses to five.
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