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West Alabama Food Bank seeks funding to move to new location

Published: May. 23, 2022 at 9:15 AM CDT
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TUSCALOOSA CO., Ala. (WBRC) - The West Alabama Food Bank will move from Northport to Tuscaloosa. The agency’s executive director said they have already signed a deal to move into the Pepsi Buffalo Rock building off Highway 69 South in Tuscaloosa.

That deal was finalized in February, but it won’t happen until 2023.

Jean Rykaczewski, the Executive Director and CEO of the West Alabama Food Bank, believes the new location offers more space and better capacity for fresh produce and frozen foods.

Last week, they approached the Tuscaloosa County Commission for financial help with the move. Rykaczewski didn’t ask for a specific dollar amount. But she said rising inflation affecting food costs and higher gas prices has forced more people to turn to the West Alabama Food Bank for help.

“We’d be able to take additional food. We’re building a brand-new cooler that’ll be able to take frozen foods and brand new produce that we can’t take now because we don’t have the room for it. And it’s really heart-breaking when I have to turn truckloads of food down because I don’t have room to accept them, when I know I have hungry people out there I can get the food to,” Rykaczewski added.

The Tuscaloosa County Commission didn’t reach a decision on the request for money from the West Alabama Food Bank. Commissioners listened to a presentation and were given information packets to review. The West Alabama Food Bank has started a five-year campaign to raise $5 million to move, buy new equipment and start new programs in its new location.

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