With an eye toward expanding its service area, a local hunger-relief organization is increasing the size of its food pantry near Southpark Mall.
Colonial Heights Food Pantry said it intends to roughly double its footprint to about 10,600 square feet by taking over a commercial space adjacent to its location at 530 Southpark Blvd.
Executive Director Warren Hammonds said the move is driven by the nonprofit’s plans to extend its reach to potentially include Hopewell, Fort Lee and Prince George County based on a request from Feed More, Central Virginia’s food bank and a partner of the nonprofit.
The food pantry provides food to people living in Colonial Heights and the Ettrick and Matoaca areas of Chesterfield County. Hammonds said the organization is still working out exactly which areas it will add to its roster.
“We’re exploring those areas where Feed More has mentioned to us that they need more coverage,” Hammonds said. “We’re anticipating expanding into other areas adjoining our current service area.”
Another factor is a desire to have more space for additional services at the pantry, some of which would be provided by other community organizations and some that could be introduced by the food pantry itself.
“Some of our new space will be available for our resource and referral partners to use when we are open to come in and conduct classes or educational opportunities,” Hammonds said.
Additionally the nonprofit has had to turn down food donations in the past for lack of space.
“We deny fairly regularly decent and preferred food items we’d love to get into the house but we don’t have the storage space,” Hammonds said.
The nonprofit plans to spend $225,000 on the expansion project, which includes improvements to the new space and the acquisition of a walk-in freezer. Fundraising for the project is still underway. Hammonds said that among the financial support received thus far are $40,000 grants each from the John Randolph Foundation and The Cameron Foundation.
The nonprofit starts its lease in May at the new space, which is at 536 Southpark Blvd.
Construction is expected to wrap up in the spring. The space was formerly occupied by Vape Guys, which has moved to a different space in the same retail strip.
The nonprofit’s current space is about 5,400 square feet. The new storefront will add about 5,200 square feet.
The nonprofit’s board of directors had been discussing expansion plans for a couple years, Hammonds said.
The food pantry was founded in 2006. The nonprofit reported total revenue of $1.3 million and $1.1 million in total expenses for fiscal year 2021, according to tax filings.
Great news and continued momentum to the pantry, I only wish the improvements were for a space they owned, not rented.