Wilmington-based nCino is donating $1 million to the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina, which will help develop the food bank’s new facility named nCino Hunger Solutions Center at 1000 Greenfield St., according to a press release Wednesday.
The $1 million donation will be distributed over a five-year period and will help the food bank “expand its food relief efforts and ensure substantial growth in its nutrition services, food access and distribution throughout southeastern North Carolina,” the release stated.
“For decades, the food bank at Wilmington has been a pillar of support for this community in the fight against food insecurity, and we’re proud to broaden our partnership to support their important work,” said Zedrick Applin, program manager of diversity, equity, inclusion and community at nCino, in the release. “As a company that has been based in Wilmington for nearly a decade, we’re committed to giving back to impactful community institutions and supporting our neighbors throughout the region.”
The new facility will be about 35,000 square feet, or almost three times larger than the food bank’s current facility, and will accommodate the distribution of an additional 4.2 million pounds of food annually, a 37% increase in the overall distribution, according to the release. In 2020, Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina purchased 1000 Greenfield St. from Cameron Management Inc. for $375,000.
The nCino Hunger Solutions Center, slated to have a groundbreaking this year and to open in 2022, will also work with community partners to offer programming in workforce development opportunities and health education, a community garden and a teaching kitchen where meals can be prepared.
Jennifer Caslin, marketing and project manager with the food bank, said this expansion will allow the organization to be more resilient and better able to respond to emergencies such as hurricanes.
The new facility will replace the current one at 1314 Marstellar St., a location the food bank has operated in since 1990, Caslin said.
Construction of the new facility is a critical step toward bolstering the food bank’s capacities to address urgent food insecurity throughout Brunswick, Columbus, New Hanover and Pender counties in North Carolina, the release stated.
The Wilmington food bank has provided more than 150 million pounds of food across its service area since 2002, an investment valued at nearly $200 million. The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting unemployment increased food access need in the community, with an estimated 35% increase in visits to food bank partner food pantries.
“The pandemic has clearly shown that food insecurity is a defined reality for thousands in our community,” said Beth Gaglione, Wilmington branch director at the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina, n the release. “Insufficient space has prevented us from increasing our efforts to nourish more people and build solutions to end hunger. With nCino’s generous partnership and support, we are one huge step closer to bringing our new facility to life and bolstering our ability to help those most in need in our community.”