CHICOPEE — MassDevelopment has issued a $9.5 million tax-exempt bond on behalf of the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts Inc., which will use proceeds to build and equip a 63,000-square-foot building at 25 Carew St. within the Chicopee River Business Park in Chicopee that will serve as the Food Bank’s new headquarters beginning in the summer of 2023.
Since 1986, the Food Bank has been operating from a 30,000-square-foot facility at 97 North Hatfield Road in Hatfield. Relocating to the new building will more than double the organization’s available space to store and distribute healthy food, increasing its capacity to serve community members facing food insecurity. PeoplesBank purchased the bond, which will complement funds raised for the project through New Markets Tax Credit equity and the organization’s capital campaign.
“The Baker-Polito administration is committed to working with nonprofits like the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts to end food insecurity across the Commonwealth,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy, who serves as chair of MassDevelopment’s board of directors. “We’re pleased that the city of Chicopee and the Food Bank were able to strategically utilize state funding sources, such as the MassWorks Infrastructure Program and MassDevelopment’s tax-exempt financing, in order to advance a project that will make a profound difference in the lives of people across Western Massachusetts.”
In February 2022, the Baker-Polito administration awarded a $1.6 million grant from the MassWorks Infrastructure Program to the city of Chicopee to support the relocation of the Food Bank’s headquarters to the Chicopee River Business Park.
“We are excited the Food Bank of Western Mass. has chosen the Chicopee Business Park to relocate their operations and headquarters,” Chicopee Mayor John Vieau said. “I can think of no better place in terms of access, efficiency, and accessibility than right here in Chicopee, at the crossroads of New England.”
In 2021, the Food Bank provided 11.6 million meals and reached an average of 103,000 individuals per month. The organization also provides other forms of food assistance, such as nutrition workshops, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program enrollment assistance, and education, public policy advocacy, and engagement around issues of food insecurity.
“With severe space constraints at our current facility, forcing us to turn away food donations, this critically important financing enables us not a moment too soon to build our future home and move into it,” said Andrew Morehouse, the Food Bank’s executive director.