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Second Harvest Food Bank breaks ground on new Winston-Salem headquarters

WINSTON-SALEM — On the cusp of its 40th year of service to the people and communities of Northwest North Carolina, Second Harvest Food Bank held a groundbreaking ceremony on the site of its future headquarters facility at Whitaker Park, in the heart of Winston-Salem.

“The story we share today is about much more than a new structure,” said Second Harvest Chief Executive Officer Eric Aft. “It is the story of our incredible partner agencies, tremendous community collaborators, amazing volunteers, inspiring donors, and the best staff of any organization in our region — and how, together, we will confront hunger and its root causes in new, more innovative, more efficient, and more impactful ways than ever before.”

“I am pleased to welcome Second Harvest Food Bank to Whitaker Park,” said Don Flow, chairman of the Whitaker Park Development Authority, Inc. “Second Harvest Food Bank is a wonderful organization with an important mission. Their new headquarters and distribution center is a great fit with WPDA’s vision for a mixed-use business park on the former RJ Reynolds manufacturing campus.”

“Building off of a legacy established 39 years ago at our founding under Nan Griswold, strengthened by the passionate leadership of Clyde Fitzgerald as both a three-time board chair and 10-year CEO, we are ready to create a future that will honor our past, immediately achieve greater impact, and continuously seek new opportunities to transform our work and the lives of those we serve,” said Aft.

The new, 139,192-square-foot Second Harvest headquarters facility and accompanying technology will address space challenges and operational inefficiencies currently facing the food bank, which in 2009 was distributing 9 million pounds of food and this last 12 months distributed 50 million pounds of food, including 7.5 million pounds of fresh produce, to address urgent needs of families facing food insecurity.

The Whitaker Park location in the heart of Winston-Salem will offer an inviting, easy-to-access location for Second Harvest’s 6,200-member strong volunteer community and open the doors for hundreds of new volunteers who are ready to be a part of the mission. The location also offers critical highway access for Second Harvest’s distribution network and partner agencies.

Second Harvest’s nationally recognized Providence Culinary Training work and community meals program, as well as the food bank’s nutrition education services, will have the space needed to provide expanded opportunities for job training, collaborative partnerships with health providers and other community partners, and additional entrepreneurial ventures that will impact the immediate challenge of hunger and its root causes.

Second Harvest leaders announced that its Hunger for Change Capital Campaign had reached and surpassed its initial $10 million goal and now has $275,000 left to raise to reach the $13,075,000 stretch goal, thanks to a $2 million gift from the Larson Family through Feeding America. The organization is seeking to raise as much money as possible to reduce its need to borrow funds required for the project and to ensure it can create a facility that will be responsive to the challenges created by hunger in our community and serve as its home for decades to come.

For additional information about the Hunger for Change campaign, community members can visit HungerforChangeNC.org or reach out to Carolyn Breese, vice president of philanthropy and community engagement for Second Harvest, at 336-407-4646.