The Good Shepherd Food Bank is close to finishing a $5 million renovation of its distribution center at 11 Penobscot Meadow Drive in Hampden, a building that previously served as the printing plant of the Bangor Daily News.
After Bangor Publishing Co. shuttered the printing plant in 2013, Good Shepherd purchased it in 2015 and has been using it since then to help distribute food donations around the state.
Last fall, the organization broke ground on the construction project that will expand its capacity to store fresh foods throughout the year and distribute them to food pantries across central, northern and Down East Maine. It’s planning a grand opening ceremony for the renovated facility Sept. 26.
With the renovation, the 40,000-square-foot facility in Hampden will provide additional cold storage space for perishable items, including fresh produce, meat and dairy products, according to President Kristen Miale.
The organization has placed more emphasis on providing fresh, nutritious foods — rather than traditional collections of canned goods — in recent years and says that the new capacity will allow it to distribute an additional 10 million meals per year. Providing more fresh foods and perishable items has required the additional cold storage space.
The Hampden facility replaced a smaller, 7,400-square-foot center that the group previously operated at 88 Stevens Road in Brewer. It complements another distribution center that the food bank operates in Auburn and uses as a distribution hub for southern Maine.
The group is also trying to finish a fundraising campaign to pay for the $5 million project. It has so far raised about $4.2 million of that amount.
To help the organization reach the finish line, Susan and Fritz Onion, who run a charitable foundation based in Auburn, have pledged to match up to $500,000 in donations, according to Miale.