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Foothills Food Bank to hold groundbreaking for expansion project


Tara Alatorre

CAVE CREEK – The Foothills Food Bank and Resource Center will be holding a ribbon cutting and groundbreaking ceremony on Saturday, May 14, at 10 a.m., officially kicking off a 2,000 square foot expansion at its current location and headquarters.

The food bank received the necessary permits for the expansion on May 3 from the town of Cave Creek, and construction has already started with the project expected to be completed in approximately 90 days. Located on Hidden Valley Drive off of Cave Creek Road, the food bank is extending the front of the existing building southward, making the new addition a reception and packing area, allowing for much-needed warehouse space, said Pam DiPietro, the executive director.

“Our reception and packing area will move to the new addition allowing more space for foodstuff storage for our clients,” DiPietro said.

Although the food bank has raised approximately $250,000 for the expansion, it is still seeking an additional $100,000 in funds from donors to cover the costs of the project. Unexpected costs incurred during the expansion caused the food bank to seek additional donations, which can be accepted through its Web site.

“We have already incurred extra costs because we had to remove some trees unexpectedly,” said DiPietro.

The Foothills Food Bank will remain in the building so it stays operational during the expansion, but expect minimal parking on site during construction. Over the past year, the food bank has seen a 20 percent growth in the needs of its client base, which sparked the Foothills Food Bank to begin its Capital Building Campaign last year to help finance the expansion. It received a $150,000 grant from Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust, bringing the total amount raised to $247,845 of the estimated $400,000 needed, according to DiPietro.

“They are really moving along with this construction, and with how fast they are moving it might be done before 90 days, but I am not holding my breath on that,” she said.

Currently, the food bank has to lease space outside of its building to accommodate growing demand for its expanding client base for services in food boxes, education programs, and government sponsored initiatives such as the snack pack program, which provides children on free and reduced lunch programs in the Cave Creek Unified School District with food items to take home on days they don’t attend school.  Once the expansion is completed, the food bank can bring these programs back into its own building.