The Foodbank of Santa Barbara County purchased a new facility in Goleta to accommodate the organization’s need in South County. Organization leaders say the new space will allow the nonprofit to expand service throughout the county.
“Logistically, it’s going to be huge for us,” said Laurel Alcantar, Senior Development Manager for the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County.
The Foodbank of Santa Barbara County purchased a 57,000 square foot facility off Coromar Drive in Goleta that will alleviate logistical issues between North and South County. The facility in Santa Maria is roughly five times the size of the one currently in use in Goleta, which forces the majority of the food to be housed in North County.
“Every day, there’s a truck going back and forth from North County to South County. We would love to be able to utilize our North County facility to store food for North County, and then have sufficient space to be able to serve South County effectively,” said Alcantar.
The food bank is unable to accept thousands and thousands of pounds of fresh food available because of the space limits at the facility on Hollister Avenue in Goleta.
“We turn away a significant amount every week we would be able to accept from Los Angeles County due to our limited capacity in South County,” said Alcantar.
“Having another facility that has loading dock systems, which we don’t currently have at our current facility on Hollister, are going to increase our overall efficiencies of operation,” said Paul Wilkins, Chief Operations Officer for the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County. “Having larger cooler and freezer operation space there will also allow us to capture more produce, not only from local ag donors, but from outside the county.”
The Foodbank of Santa Barbara is part of VOAD, Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster. In the event of a disaster and possible closures of major thoroughfares connecting North and South Santa Barbara Counties, the new facility will ensure South County has the resources they need.
“If the 101 were to get cut off, obviously some of our supplies would get cut off from one direction to another. Having adequate space and storage in both North and South County is going to enable us to serve in a time of disaster, whether it be something similar to COVID, we’re prepared to do that. This is only going to help us do that in a more efficient manner,” said Alcantar.
The Foodbank of Santa Barbara County will start a fundraising campaign in 2022. A timeline for the opening of the new facility is not set in stone, but Alcantar says it could be some time in the spring or summer of 2022.