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New home discovered - PJS Article


  • Midwest Food Bank wants to open a new location in this building in Morton after Equipment Depot moves out. There's 18,000 square feet of warehouse space and 3,000 square feet of office space.

By Steve Stein
Updated Jul. 9, 2012 @ 8:02 am


Midwest Food Bank has its sights set on a soon-to-be-vacant building on the west side of Morton for its fifth location.

Asking price is $1.2 million for the building at 700 Erie Ave., and food bank representatives plan to make an offer July 31 that includes a $400,000 down payment.

"Lord willing, all will go well," said Bart Rinkenberger, spokesman for a six-member group that's been entrusted with locating a site in Morton for the food bank and generating funds to pay for it.

"We have financing in place to pay off the rest of the cost of the building after we make our down payment," Rinkenberger said. "Our goal, and it's an aggressive one, is to be debt-free by 2014."

The building is being leased by Equipment Depot, which is moving out. It has 18,000 square feet of warehouse space and 3,000 square feet of office space.

The faith-based, not-for-profit food bank has facilities at 9005 N. Industrial Road in Peoria; 1703 S. Veterans Parkway in Bloomington; Indianapolis; and Peachtree City, Ga.

Its mission is to gather and distribute food donations to not-for-profit organizations and at disaster sites at no cost to the recipients. It distributes more than $1 million in food monthly.

The Morton location would serve as a logistics center because of its proximity to Interstate 155 and Interstate 74, and it would become the home of a Tender Mercies food packaging operation that helps people around the world. The packaging work is currently being done at the food bank's Peoria location.

Tender Mercies is a nutrition-filled dried meal of rice and beans in a chicken-flavored base that's enriched with vitamin and mineral supplements. Each package serves four to six people.

Larry Herman, director of the food bank's Peoria operation and a member of the Morton group, said the Morton facility should be up and running six months to a year after it's purchased.

Rinkenberger said when the Morton group first started meeting in April, it thought it would take two to three years to locate a building or land on which to build.

"Then, through the grace of God, we found out about the building on Erie," he said. "It wasn't even being listed. Gary Glover, the building owner, is offering it to us at a very fair price."

Rinkenberger said many Morton residents and churches and people who work in Morton have been major supporters of the food bank through financial donations and volunteer efforts.

"They've been driving to Peoria and Bloomington to do volunteer work," he said. "Now they'll be able to volunteer in town. We hope many more people will see this as a volunteer opportunity."

Herman said the food bank is a volunteer-driven organization. He's a volunteer himself. There are only three salaried staff members at the Peoria location.

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