‘We want to be here to serve’: Feeding Northeast Florida expanding to bigger facility

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – According to Feeding Northeast Florida, 1 in 7 adults and 1 in 5 children in the area experience some level of food insecurity.

Last year, the food bank distributed more than 27 million meals from 32 million pounds of food across the eight counties it serves.

Those meals served more than 85,000 people in our News4JAX viewing area every day.

And soon, Feeding Northeast Florida will be able to serve even more.

The food bank, which serves Baker, Bradford, Clay, Duval, Flagler, Nassau, Putnam and St. Johns counties, has outgrown its current facilities and is moving into the former Kinco Windows factory building on Old Kings Road in Jacksonville.

The new building can hold double the amount of people and supplies that the old buildings could hold.

“There was a 40 million meal deficit identified by Feeding America in our community prior to COVID-19,” said Susan King, the president and CEO of Feeding Northeast Florida. “We have all seen the effects of COVID-19 and then the subsequent impacts of inflationary pressures that families are seeing.”

King said moving to a bigger building was in the works for a few years, and this will help the agency reach way more people.

“Life will be breathed back into [the new building] over the next few weeks,” she said. “We should see a lot of activity then.”

King believes the move will also make Feeding Northeast Florida more efficient.

A drawing of the new Feeding Northeast Florida Buildng on Old Kings Road. (Feeding Northeast Floirda)

In the new building, everything will be under one roof.

All 60 workers will be back together in one place, and the number of volunteers the agency can accept could double.

The expectation is to be able to bring in 100 volunteers safely at one time. Currently, it can only utilize between 20 to 40 volunteers.

There will also be space for training sessions for the food bank or any of the other 325 groups it works with.

“We want to be here to serve those families should it be a pandemic, or should it be a natural disaster,” King said.

Feeding Northeast Florida plans to move into the new building and be up and running by the end of 2023.

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