Food Bank History
Food Bank History
In 1982, during a Recession, a small group of concern community members noticed a interesting issue: people were struggling to put food on their tables, yet grocery stores had excess food that was being thrown away. After doing research, they discovered that a food bank could collect the surplus food from the grocery stores and then distribute it to the people in need. The Fairbanks Community Food Bank was then born. In the first year, the dedicated founders were able to collect a few thousand pounds of food and redistribute it to a couple hundred people.
By 1985, the organization had grown enough to hire an executive director
and by 1990, we were collecting 300,000 pounds of surplus food in the
community each year. We used 4,000 volunteer hours to do the daily
work, and the work was organized by the executive director.
In 1990, the operations 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, 1998.
The current facility, located in Fairbanks, Alaska at 725 26th Avenue, is 50,000 sq. ft. and we are currently collecting and distributing four million pounds of local surplus food. We still do the work primarily with volunteers (nearly 25,000 hours each year). We were also able to give over one million pounds of locally collected food to about 100 different agencies this last year, helping keep their costs down and their services up!
Local independent 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. Thank you for 4 decades of serving this community!
The Food Bank may provide emergency food to individuals and families in critical need, usually a three or four day supply. In case of disasters of magnitude the Food Bank will offer every assistance possible.
The Food Bank may serve as a clearing house for edible yet unmarketable food and distribute it to organizations.
The Food Bank may assist other organizations in their efforts to teach sharing, volunteerism, recycling, wise storage, good nutrition, balanced diets, simple recipes, as well as the devastating results of hunger.
The Food Bank, upon recommendation of its Board, may establish any other programs which amplify the primary purpose as set out above.