In a tough economy and the holiday season’s struggle to feed 1,600 people each week, Debbie Christian and each of her hardworking Auburn Food Bank volunteers are welcoming spring.
That’s because the long-planned transformation of the former Sports Page Tavern (2802 Auburn Way North) into the new Auburn Food Bank, Daytime Resource Center and Night Shelter is finally underway.
In mid-December, Christian, director of the food bank, said: “I finally got my permit and can start working as a supervisor this week.
The food bank has long been located at 920 8th Place NE on the Byrndale Housing Estate in North Auburn, but Christian said it’s moving because it’s in a tight space and doesn’t have room to grow.
“We have been running out of capacity for years, and this move will give us about five times the space,” says Christian. “We are receiving food donations. This move has enabled us to receive more food donations, which gives us more room to serve more people.”
According to plans submitted to the City of Auburn’s Community Development Authority, the total improved area for that portion of the complex is 14,631 square feet, divided into 6,899 square feet for a food bank at the south end (where the tavern used to be). will be A newly combined 3,741-square-foot and 3,991-square-foot Resource Center and Night Shelter, respectively, on the other side of the North Wall of the Food Bank, are accessible. The night shelter can accommodate 45 cots. Areas that have yet to be improved make up 49% of the total building.
The remaining tenants in the complex are Taqueria el Taco Maestro and Pho Dinh Vietnam Noodles.
Christian said the current expected labor cost from contractors is $1.6 million and the food bank will need $1 million to make it happen.
“Until we get a grant to cover the construction costs, they will probably get a construction loan to cover us. When COVID hit, progress stalled because we couldn’t look for grants until we knew where we were in terms of construction,” Christian said.
Christian hopes to have all the work completed by early summer 2023.
“We’re shooting for June, but I’m not sure. It’s going to depend on supply and demand and what products vendors have to get,” says Christian.