WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - The Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina announced plans to move its Wilmington branch to the site of the former Village Plaza Shopping Center on Greenfield Street that was destroyed in a massive fire in 2018.
In a news release announcing the purchase and redevelopment of the property, the organization stated it will build a new facility on the five-acre tract located at 1000 Greenfield Street that will “ensure a significant increase in nutrition services, food storage, and distribution throughout the southeastern North Carolina” and will be “the first step toward developing the Food Bank of Wilmington’s capacities to address urgent food insecurity in Brunswick, Columbus, New Hanover, and Pender counties.”
The Food Bank at Wilmington, which is currently located at 1314 Marsteller Drive, has been in operation since 1990. The new facility will be nearly three times the size of the old location and allow for the distribution of an additional 4.2 million pounds of food — a 37 percent increase in distribution, officials said. Duplin County would then be added to the service area.
“Last year, the Food Bank at Wilminton distributed nearly 11 million pounds of food, but the need is growing more urgent every day. Insufficient space has been the largest single obstacle to feeding more of our hungry neighbors,” said Beth Gaglione, director of the Wilmington branch of the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina.
The fire that destroyed the Village Plaza Shopping Center also consumed Everbody’s Supermarket and left the south side of Wilmington, including public housing communities Houston Moore, Hillcrest, and Glover Plaza, without easy access to fresh produce, creating a “food desert.”
Food bank officials plan to break ground on the new Greenfield Street facility in 2021 and have it up and running in 2022.