AWARE Food Bank is celebrating its new facility in Woodburn after it was damaged by arson
AWARE Food Bank celebrated its new space Wednesday in Woodburn with public tours of the facility.
AWARE Food Bank, which stands for All Woodburn Area Resources Enlisted, is open in its newly renovated building after it was damaged by arson in 2021. After working in the parking lot and then Hoodview Church of God, the food bank is back in business amid Woodburn City.
The food bank has been open at the venue since early January, with the event allowing community partners to tour the building. U.S. Rep. Andrea Salinas, D-Ore., Woodburn Mayor Frank Lonergan and others spoke at the event. They shared the story of the construction of the new building and paid tribute to the staff, volunteers and supporting organizations.
AWARE supports more than 1,800 families each month, with 100 to 140 people coming each open day, said Daisy Chavez, AWARE program director.
The new facility was expected to cost at least $5.3 million.
The 10,000-square-foot building serves three purposes: as a warehouse, food pantry and community space, said Rick Gaubo, president of Marion Polk Food Share.
Gaubo said the new facility can better support the community’s needs, especially with increased warehouse space, convenient sidewalks and truck-friendly entrances, and more freezers, refrigerators and community space.
Upon entering the food distribution area, you will find wooden shelves on wheels, reminiscent of grocery stores. Two of the walls are lined with accessible commercial freezers and refrigeration units.
The previous iteration of the space did not have refrigeration units, making it difficult to restock items throughout the day.
The new setup allows people to browse the aisles and choose what they want, making the experience more seamless than simply picking up a bag of merchandise.
The space has a small area for kids or other family members to hang out. Down the hall is a community room with a long table. The table, window sills and wall panels throughout the building are made of reclaimed oak from the previous building, Chavez said.
The rebuilt facility features modern finishes, orange and yellow painted walls, high ceilings, and signage in English, Spanish and Braille. Wall art is planned for the future.
In the back is a warehouse that can now hold up to 65 pallets of food. The increased storage means the facility can accept shipments from major distributors such as WinCo and Amazon. AWARE previously did not have the ability to easily accept pallets, but now can with new truck-accessible entrances.
The facility also contains additional bathrooms, a mezzanine and an expanded kitchen.
People coming to get food do not have to have an ID or verify income to receive food, according to the AWARE website.
“We are excited to be back in the heart of downtown Woodburn and excited about what the future holds,” Chavez said.
hours: 9 a.m. to noon Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday; The first and third Tuesday of the month from 3:30 – 6 p.m
Title: 152 Arthur Street, Woodburn
Em Chan covers food and dining for the Statesman Journal. You can access it at firstname.lastname@example.org And follow her on Twitter @com. catcaptoemily.
This article originally appeared in the Salem Statesman: AWARE Food Bank celebrates new facility in Woodburn after arson