MAFB's Executive Director Looks Back on 2013by Montgomery Area Food Bank on 12/31/13
2013 has been a year of incredible growth for the Montgomery Area Food Bank (MAFB). Indeed, it has been full of challenges, new opportunities, and tremendous leaps of faith. Fortunately, we at the food bank have always enjoyed a great deal of support from the local community – this support helped to make 2013 our most productive year ever.
Perhaps our greatest challenge has been continuing to work within the constraints of our existing facility after taking on an additional 10 counties to our service area in 2010 – a 40% growth. We knew that our existing facility would be inadequate to tackle this increase, but that has not made the growing pains any easier.
As many of you know, in order to adequately serve the needs of today and tomorrow we are in the midst of a $2,000,000 Capital Campaign to increase the size of our facility by nearly 24,000 sq ft. We began the year with $1.2 million raised, but again thanks to the long recession we faced a long road to get to goal. We are still chasing down the last funding needed to maximize our use of the facility, but construction is nearly complete. The building is scheduled for completion in early 2014, and I am confident that we will meet or exceed our fundraising goal quickly after.
With the recession continuing to negatively impact families across Alabama, the need for our services has increased dramatically over the past several years. Our distribution finally crested 20 million pounds this year (roughly 670 tractor-trailer loads), and shows no signs of slowing down. Included in this growth, I am proud to say, is a significant leap in our distribution of fresh produce. We ended FY 13 in June 2013 having distributed nearly 1,000,000 more pounds of produce than the year before, totaling just over 2.8 million pounds. We expect that with our new facility and the spacious 90,000 cu ft freezer cooler combination being installed, we will continue to grow our distribution of fresh produce (and frozen goods) in the years to come by leaps and bounds. In doing so, we will ensure that families across the state receive a wide variety of quality, nutritious foods in support of their long-term health and wellbeing.
Continuing growth in key programs such as our Mobile Pantry Program, combined with a rising amount of support from national and local donors and a very strong showing from our Store Donation partners (who supply millions of pounds of food every year), has come together during this critical time to ensure that we are in a sound financial position to close out the calendar year. Overall, we are set up for great success in 2014.
With the new facility built and in use, our operational needs will no doubt rise in accordance with our growing output. But, we are confident that with the help of concerned and connected community members such as yourself, we can continue to work in earnest towards our mission of Feeding Hope Across Alabama.