WILMINGTON — After undergoing construction for almost a year, local nonprofit NourishNC has opened its new facility on Market Street, in turn expanding its outreach in the area.
The 510(c)3 fights hunger by providing healthy food to children in need. Around 1 in 5 are food insecure, according to its website; to combat it, NourishNC runs various programs:
- BackPacks (sent home with K-5 school children on weekends)
- Meal Boxes (providing four weekends worth of food to pre-K, middle and high school students)
- Farmers MarKID (kids receive Nourish Bucks to redeem at pop-up farmers markets)
- Toddlers Tummies (15-20 pounds of fresh food delivered to the most vulnerable children, ages 1-4)
- Food Farmacy (clinicians assess children for food insecurity and write a prescription to be filled for 25 meals)
The organization’s new 12,000-square-foot building located on 2.1 acres of land at 3606 Market St. has been custom designed to include more food storage and overall space to accommodate additional volunteers.
“We went from eight parking spots to 75,” executive director Steve McCrossan told Port City Daily.
He explained last year the 13-year nonprofit had outgrown its operations from a 6,000 square-foot warehouse on Greenfield Street.
“Right now, when we do distribution, if you open the cooler door, the food is almost ready to fall out on you — that’s how tight we are,” he said in June 2021, as NourishNC broke ground on its new home.
The capital funding campaign for NourishNC’s new campus originally was slated for $1.9 million. Inflation and supply and demand increased the end need, settling at $2.1 million.
“We experienced cost overruns and delays due to Covid,” McCrossan further detailed. “We also had some scope changes, which increased costs.”
Specifically, the director said the organization added a gas-powered generator to keep food fresh during hurricanes and other natural disasters, to fulfill its mission amidst the toughest times for families.
Located in a former China Buffet restaurant, the compound “quadruples fresh and frozen food storage and doubles non-perishable storage,” according to a press release sent by the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce.
Also part of its expanded footprint is Market on Market (also known as “The MoM”). The small, free grocery store is open to children and their families to shop for healthy, nutritious items — produce, proteins and non-perishables alike.
The market will ensure NourishNC is stocked with more variety, appropriate for dietary needs and culturally specific foods, according to McCrossan. He said it also cuts down on waste by “empowering families to choose the food they will use and leave the rest for others.”
MoM will operate during the summer at scheduled times for New Hanover County families referred to NourishNC by social workers or community partners. Summer is traditionally a tough time of year for youth who may experience hunger outside of school, the one place many are guaranteed a meal.
“We need food and monetary donations to keep the shelves stocked all summer,” McCrossan added.
Throughout 2021, NourishNC served over 1,600 kids through its BackPack Program, 446 in Food Farmacy and Toddler Tummies, and gave away over 230,000 pounds of fresh food, as well as more than 620,000 meals to children.
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