LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - After more than half a year of vacancy, the former Save-A-Lot building along Greenbush Street will see new life. Food Finders Food Bank's new food pantry is set to open on Thursday in the former grocery store.
It will take the place of the former pantry located just down the road.
With food insecurity still on the rise due to the coronavirus, Food Finders Food Bank's CEO Katy Bunder said this was the perfect time to expand their food pantry. She said this is an expansion they've been working on for ten years.
"We needed to find a way to distribute food with social social distancing. We really had to find a larger space," said Bunder.
Thanks to a grant from Feeding America, the former Save-A-Lot in Lafayette will serve as Food Finders' new food pantry. The grant covered the cost of the building and staff for the first year of operations.
Bunder said the Market Square Shopping Center location was exactly what they were looking for.
"It's 19,000 square feet. It already has freezers and coolers. It was set up to be a grocery store, so it just fits our need perfectly," said Bunder.
According to Food Finders' Senior Impact Director Adam Meyer, the added square footage will allow Food Finders to serve more people.
"We're for sure going to be able to accept the normal 300 to 400 people that we were seeing before. But wth this space now, there's a possibility now of serving a lot more on a daily basis," said Meyer "We're going to have everything from canned goods, canned meats, fresh fruits and vegetables. We'll have dairy. We'll have milk and eggs."
With more people expected to visit the new location, Bunder said they're keeping safety a priority.
"We have room to keep six feet apart. We've put those shelves for the groceries twelve feet apart," said Bunder.
And she hopes the new atmosphere will encourage those facing hunger to visit the new pantry.
"The shopping experience is going to be more akin to a regular shopping, and so we might be able to help people that haven't felt comfortable coming to the pantry before," said Bunder.
"This new space we're able to kind of give people a little bit of a sense of normalcy by letting them come through and shop and also maintain a safe distance from everybody else," added Meyer.
The new location will open this Thursday, October 1st.
The food pantry will be open from 1-6:30 pm on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, 1-5 pm Friday and 10 am - 2pm Saturday.
Once open, the former pantry at Food Finders' Greenbush Street location will become a volunteer space.