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Food Bank History

In 1982 a small group of local people decided that it made no sense to have surplus community food and hungry people. So, they organized a few churches and began the process of collecting food from the local commercial vendors, and distributing it through various sites in the area. The first year, 12,000 pounds of food were collected.

By 1985, the organization had grown enough to hire an executive director and by 1990, they were collecting 300,000 pounds of surplus food in the community each year. They used 4,000 volunteer hours to do the daily work, and the work was organized by the executive director.

In 1990, the operations were moved to 517 Gaffney Road and steadily that facility grew from 2,000 sq. ft. to 6,500 sq. ft. Once the collection and distribution of food went over one million pounds, it was apparent that another move needed to occur. How could that happen, since the work of the Food Bank is to collect free food in the community and give it away free? Where were the dollars to make a change?

Dennis and Mary Wise decided that was something they could do. A new facility was designed and erected, and we moved into a turn-key operation in February, 1999. The current facility, located in Fairbanks, Alaska at 725 26th Avenue, is 25,000 sq. ft. and we are currently collecting and distributing nearly two million pounds of local surplus food. We still do the work primarily with volunteers (nearly 17,000 hours each year).

Local food banks are a great idea because they just make so much common sense. We recycle local surplus food so that no one needs to be hungry in the Tanana Valley.