February 12, 2014 at 11:38 PM CST - Updated July 21 at 10:05 AM
by Anum Valliani NewsWest 9
ODESSA - Thousands of people in the Basin rely on their service every single day and now the West Texas Food Bank said they could help even more. That's because they're opening up in a new building in Odessa and even expanding into Midland.
According to Executive Director, Libby Campbell, times have changed and they need to catch up. The food bank has been in their current facility for 30 years and now the board wants a bigger, more modern facility so they could be more efficient with their job.
Where they sit now, there's a big space problem. Campbell said they've come close to turning down trucks of donated goods and are even unable to carry out some programs they'd otherwise successfully offer - like Food to the Elderly. So they got engineers to draft them a new building. The project has manifested into a $12.7 million dollar upgrade.
"$2.7 million is actually for endowment purposes so that if anything ever did happen to the economy, the West Texas Food Bank will be able to continue as they do everyday," Campbell said.
They've raised nearly all the money needed to start building, about $10 million. The money will bring a new distribution center to Odessa and the first food bank affiliated facility in Midland.
"Midland's gonna be kinda special. It's going to be more of a volunteer center, a community center for people to go and learn how you can help your neighbor," Campbell said.
She added that the outpost center in Alpine will also be getting a much needed facelift.
The main new facility will sit on seven acres in Odessa next to the Coca-Cola Distribution Center by Pagewood and Campbell said it'll match other notable facilities in cities like San Antonio, Austin, and Lubbock. But it has its own perk.
"It's specially designed for us. It really fits our rural but metro [vibe]. We're growing so much right here in the boom that we are a special little place. That's what I think the board and myself really wanted to have with this project," Campbell said.
Campbell said the new space along Interstate 20 would allow them to bring in more items for non-profits to chose from, grow more of their programs, bring in innovative technology for orders and deliveries, even offer child care services and cooking classes.
"We've kinda become the center for people coming for help and then we kinda push you out to different locations. So we're gonna have the right kind of setting so we're not going to have to close doors in the break room to have those difficult conversations because we want to help and we want to try and bridge that gap that we're gonna make it better," Campbell said.
Officials are hoping to break ground in July or August and the current building will eventually be put up for sale.