Kenner’s food bank will move into a brand-new building this month, ending a long history of making do with substandard facilities and accommodations.
“I am so excited that Kenner will finally have a food bank that was designed and built to actually serve the public in that capacity,” Mayor Mike Yenni said in a news release.
The Kenner Food Bank serves about 900 families a month.
The new building at 317 Oxley St. will open Dec. 21, but the existing facility at Worth Street will be closed this week while workers move phone lines, shelving and refrigeration equipment to the new building.
“I think everyone will be impressed by the additional space and amenities in the new facility,” Yenni said.
Kenner Community Development Director Arleeta Terrell said the building will be able to help more families because it’s larger and was specifically designed to handle deliveries and store items.
It’s a stark contrast to the days when the city’s food bank operated out of an old fire station and an abandoned school building.
Ronnie Mains, owner of Crossroads Center, has promised to bring in tractor-trailer loads of food donated by Wal-Mart on a regular basis.
The new facility was designed to handle those types of deliveries as well as the storage of perishable items.
The annual Sipping with Santa fundraiser for the operation, put on by Kenner first lady Michelle Yenni and the mayor, along with Councilman Keith Conley and his wife, Barbie, raised an estimated $60,000 for the food bank this year. Now in its sixth year, Sipping with Santa has taken in about $270,000 for the food bank.
Kenner spent $700,000 on the new building, using funds from the sale of the Worth Street building to the East Jefferson Levee District for $84,000, Community Development Block Grant money and $81,600 from each council district and at-large seat.
The levee district purchased the Worth Street building as part of plans to eventually consolidate police and operations in a single area.
The new facility was built by J.A. Jack Julius Jr. Inc.