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On Tuesday, the United Way of Southeast Alaska presented the Southeast Alaska Food Bank with a check representing a grant of $21,800 at the Juneau Rotary Club meeting at the Baranof Hotel.
The check was accepted by Food Bank treasurer Laraine Derr, who provided details of the Food Bank's current project - raising a new building. The grant is a very significant one, Derr said.
"This is almost half our yearly budget of $50,000," she said. "It will help pay off some of the construction expenses we have had with the new building, like the concrete, the septic tank and the rock for the leach field."
Presenting the check, Brian Phillips, in-coming board president for United Way of Southeast, said, "United Way hopes to accomplish several things in making this grant: It will provide the Food Bank with a much-needed, up-front capital infusion. It will allow nonprofits using the Food Bank one full year to make necessary budget adjustments. And this is a wonderful opportunity for the community to see their United Way dollars at work for the benefit of many."
Derr then spoke to Rotary members about progress on the building, which will be used to store and distribute food to organizations such as the Glory Hole. "We have three walls up," Derr said. "We are waiting for the snow to go away so we can complete it. We hope to be in there by the end of April."
The 1,100-square-foot building at 20020 Crazy Horse Dr. sits on property donated by the City and Borough of Juneau. The building itself was donated by Roy Geist of Wasilla. Excavation for the water line was donated by contractor Jimmy Mason. The septic tank was dug in by Gary Diekmann, Derr said. Derr, whose day job is president of the Hospital and Nursing Home Association, expressed gratitude to the many people who have contributed to the effort by donating labor or materials.
Currently food is being stored at a temporary location in Lemon Creek. That Anka Street location has been donated by entrepreneur Jan Van Dort. "We pay the utilities," Derr said.
The Southeast Alaska Food Bank has been in operation since 1992, and distributes about 300,000 pounds of food annually. Juneau's three Rotary clubs donated 10,000 pounds of food just last week, Derr said. She has been involved with the bank since 1996, and became one of its charter members in 1998 when it became independent of its original operators, Gastineau Human Services and the Salvation Army.
"One of the things we try to get across to the community is that we do not give food to individuals," Derr added. "We give it to 501-C agencies, non-profits that are eligible to receive food."
Donations may be mailed to the Southeast Alaska Food Bank, Box 34472, Juneau, AK. 99803.
Ann Chandonnet can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.