With demand spiking for food aid in the Washington, D.C., area, the Capital Area Food Bank has opened a $37-million distribution center to boost supplies to more than 700 food pantries and service charities in the region, writes The Washington Post.
Local relief officials said the 123,000-square-foot facility in Northeast Washington is needed to battle a “growing hunger crisis” in the region. The food bank is set to dole out 33 million pounds of food this year, a 43-percent increase since the start of the recession, and calls to its emergency hotline have risen 22 percent from last year.
The new center will double the food bank’s storage capacity and includes a teaching kitchen for nutrition classes and expanded office space for the charity’s staff.
Lynn Brantley, the food bank’s president and chief executive officer, said it has struggled to meet the growing demand as the economy remains weak. “The middle class is under stress, and many people who have never needed emergency food services find themselves at food pantries,” she said.