Gleaners beefing up refrigerated space in $3.2M expansion project

Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana is planning to expand its refrigerated storage capacity by 40,000 square feet as part of a $3.2 million project beefing up its headquarters on the southwest side.

The state’s largest hunger-relief organization currently maintains 15,000 square feet of refrigerated space and a 15,000-square-foot freezer area. The expansion project will bring the refrigerated section to 55,000 square feet, providing urgently needed space for produce and other perishables.

The project also entails adding a backup generator for cooled spaces in case Gleaners loses city power at its headquarters facility at 3737 Waldemere Ave. Gleaners also plans to relocate food-sorting areas as part of the project.

The $3.2 million cost of the project is being covered by a $1.4 million grant from Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment Inc. and the balance from the federal CARES Act for pandemic-related assistance.

Work is scheduled to begin by the end of November, with completion expected by spring.

Gleaners has in recent years dramatically increased the amount of produce, dairy products, lean meats and other perishables it provides.

Prior to Gleaners’ May 2017 launch of its regional produce co-operative now known as Fresh Connect Central, the not-for-profit received no fresh produce direct from farmers. By 2019, nearly half of the food distributed by Gleaners in its 21-county service area was fresh fruits and vegetables.

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