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On Thursday, Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services (SFBFS) broke new ground on its 22,000-square-foot space, which will be home to a new education center, urban farm and children’s recreational area.
The building is expected to be completed in Fall 2011.
“(It’s) all about compassion, kindness for people. That's it,” said Father Dan Madigan, Founder of SFBFS.
The education center will include expanded adult education, a computer clubhouse, youth academy, “PlayCare” and mother-baby programs. It will be a resource for the unemployed and dislocated workers in the community to receive job skills training and computer education.
The urban farm will be 5,000 square feet.
“(It’s) less about production, more about teaching,” said Blake Young, president of SFBFS. The urban farm will not only provide fresh produce, but it will also teach children and adults about the value of healthy living.
With help from the urban farm, SFBFS will expand its food assistance mobile distribution efforts. The goal is to provide food access and health and nutrition education to larger, underserved populations in the Oak Park and South Sacramento neighborhoods.
“We’ll take food to the community – mobile is a big deal,” said Mayor Kevin Johnson.
The project will cost $3.5 million. The funding comes from a loan through the Catholic Diocese of Sacramento and federal and county grants. The SFBFS will not use any donor funds to pay for the building, however, SFBFS will rely on the continued donations to operate all if its programs.
“Volunteerism is the spirit that drives this country,” said Congresswoman Doris Matsui.
Young said that 85 cents of every dollar donated goes directly to feeding the families and that it costs 27 cents for one meal. SFBFS feeds 17,000 - 20,000 people per month.
“The only criteria is that they stand in line,” Young said.
Bobby Poe is a client of SFBFS. He said he owned his own furniture-moving business for nine years and that he lost it when the economy took a turn.
“I was going in like it was my job,” Poe said. SFBFS helped him with a resume and computer courses, and staff helped him prepare for interviews. He now works for PepsiCo Inc. part-time as a merchandiser and for TLC Medical Transport.
Marina Alba is another client at SFBFS.
“I am the only person in my family to learn and study English,” she said. She added that it’s her dream to become a nurse and that she will be applying for college in January.
“Nothing comes close to the excitement I am feeling today, because we are all doing God’s work,” Johnson said.
Johnson added that the new education center is going to be named after Father Madigan.