January 7, 2016 6:57 pm

Surrey Food Bank needs a new home, but real estate prices are too high

ABOVE: The Surrey Food Bank is looking for a new, bigger home, but as Grace Ke reports, competition for property is pricing it right out of the market.

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With demand increasing, the Surrey Food Bank is looking for a new and bigger home, but competition for property is pricing it right out of the market.

The food bank is serving the fastest growing community in Metro Vancouver. They have 40 volunteers and provide $30,000 worth of food a day.

In three-and-a-half hours up to 300 families will have walked through this facility and the need has outgrown the building.

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“Christmas is a crazy time,” said Marilyn Herrmann with the Surrey Food Bank. “We had to completely shut down this facility at Christmas and send our clients over to the Rec. Centre for food, so that we had enough room here to bring in the 400,000 pounds of food that we received. It was a massive job to receive all of that.”

The food bank also has to operate in another warehouse that costs $3,500 a month to lease. After the food is trucked in and sorted out, it’s trucked to another facility until it’s ready for distribution.

“So we had to purchase a three-tonne truck and hire a driver who has to shuttle the food back and forth as we need it,” said Herrmann.

Ideally the food bank would like 20,000 to 24,000 square feet of space, land and parking spaces; right now they have a 8,000 square foot building.

It has to be near a bus route as 40 per cent of their clients take public transit.

The Surrey Food Bank has been actively looking for the last five years, but with the high real estate prices and development it’s been a challenge.

“There are so many things that the Surrey Food Bank does and would like to do better,” said Herrmann. “We’re great at connecting the community, we’re great at bringing service agencies and partners in to talk to our clients, to work with our clients, to help them find ways that they don’t need the food bank in the future. We have nowhere to put them.”

“When you invite the library, or you invite Services Canada, or Fraser Health to come in and you’re asking them to stand in front of a cold doorway because you have nowhere else to put them, it’s not OK.”

The Surrey Food Bank gets no government funding. Their land is appraised at $1.4 million and a developer has donated some money for a new property. But the last building they considered was $3.2 million and needed $1 million in improvements.

Until something comes along, they will continue serving families in Surrey the best way they can.

© 2016 Shaw Media

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