This summer, Winchester will serve as the main distribution point for regional food bank God’s Food Pantry.
The Lexington-based organization unveiled its new distribution center Tuesday in the Winchester-Clark County Industrial Park, part of a two-year strategic expansion plan.
“It’s so great God’s Pantry is going to have a facility in Clark County. We are a very progressive community, and we are a very thorough community. What God’s Pantry will bring to this community is invaluable,” Clark County Judge-Executive Henry Branham said.
God’s Pantry acquired the distribution center in the industrial park from Wintek in 2010 after a consultant suggested the food bank find a warehouse within 30 miles of the Jaggie Fox Way facility in Lexington to store more food.
“It’s been a real blessing where it is,” Steve Jennings, God’s Pantry board president, said at the dedication ceremony.
He spoke about the convenience of being able to reach both central and eastern Kentucky with the Mountain Parkway and Interstates 64 and 75.
The new warehouse was the biggest acquisition of the “Come to the Table” campaign, and was made possible, in part, by donations from Pine Branch Coal owners David and Susan Duff. God’s Pantry CEO Marian Guinn recognized the Duffs for their support of the organization since 2008, and announced the naming of the distribution center after Pine Branch Coal.
The “Come to the Table” campaign has already raised $3.5 million, and campaign chairman David Harper said God’s Pantry hopes to raise enough money for two more distribution centers, one in Morehead to service northeastern Kentucky and one in Corbin or London to service southeastern Kentucky.
The Pine Branch Coal Food Distribution Center will be the primary distribution center this summer as a cooling system and new volunteer areas are added to the Lexington distribution center. Renovations are scheduled for completion this fall.
According to Guinn, God’s Pantry feeds 1 in 7 Kentuckians, and estimates another 120,000 are still in need. In 2011, the organization distributed 23 million pounds of food, including 6 million pounds of produce. With the addition of the Winchester facility, Guinn hopes to eventually distribute 35 million pounds.
For more information on God’s Pantry, visit www.godspantry.org.
Contact Rachel Parsons Gilliam at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow her on Twitter, @ParsonsRachel.