New St. Vincent de Paul Society Food Bank more than 50% finished

By Kristi Pihl

Tri-City Herald, September 15, 2013

The skeletal walls inside the future home of the St. Vincent de Paul Society Food Bank provide a glimpse of where clients will be able to receive food, clothing and other help starting early next year.

The opportunities that the Pasco nonprofit will have to better serve its Franklin County clients inspires grins and enthusiasm from Sina Pierret, the society's president and food bank manager.

Pat Roach, left, co-chair of the capital campaign for the St. Vincent de Paul Society Food Bank in Pasco and Sina Pierret, president and manager of the nonprofit, recently walk through the group's new 16,000-square-foot warehouse and service center, at 215 S. Sixth Ave. in Pasco. The new facility is scheduled to be finished by the end of the year.

BOB BRAWDY — Tri-City Herald

Pierret and the other volunteers hope to see the 16,000-square-foot warehouse and service center at 215 S. Sixth Ave. finished by the end of the year.

But the nonprofit still has about $500,000 to raise for the $1.7 million project, said Pat Roach, co-chairman of the capital campaign. The group already had $750,000 from the property sale and in savings.

And donations of more than $500,000 have been received, Roach said. Community First Bank has provided a bridge loan of $740,000 to help the nonprofit move the construction forward.

The timeline for the move into the facility will give the group time to move the six blocks from its aging, inadequate food bank to the new building near Columbia Street and Sixth Avenue before the nonprofit's lease with the city of Pasco ends in April.

The current food bank is in the path of the Lewis Street overpass, which Pasco officials plan to build to replace an aging railroad underpass. The nonprofit sold its property to the city but is able to continue to use the property thanks to the lease.

Already, the new building is more than 50 percent finished, Pierret said.

Among the characteristics society volunteers are looking forward to are the 91 parking spaces, air conditioning and heating, restrooms, private rooms where clients can receive a wellness check or talk to a volunteer about their needs and a large room where clients can choose clothing.

Pierret said the sorting room adjacent to the clothing room, which will include at least one washer and dryer, will help the volunteers with their ministry.

In addition to food and clothing, the nonprofit provides emergency assistance for medical, housing, utilities and transportation and helps clients connect with other programs that meet their needs.

The warehouse includes the space where clients will pick up boxes pre-packed with dry goods and then cycle through to choose frozen and refrigerated food as well as fruits and vegetables, Pierret said.

The society also will have a greater ability to accept food donations at the new building. The freezer and cooler will each be able to hold 48 pallets of food; the current ones hold 28 combined, she said.

The society served about 1,500 families in July, with those families on average being helped more than twice during the month, according to the nonprofit. Those families included more than 3,500 children, about 2,500 adults and about 250 seniors.

During one Wednesday this summer, Pierret said the agency gave away 728 boxes of food. Each box tends to weigh 65 to 75 pounds.

To help, send donations to St. Vincent de Paul Society, P.O. Box 4273, Pasco, 99302, and indicate that they are for the capital campaign or call the food bank at 544-9315.