Jan 05, 2018

Brown Construction “Building it Forward” with expansion of Yolo Food Bank


Yolo Food Bank is the largest hunger-relief organization in Yolo County, serving 19,000 households each month from its current facility in Woodland, CA, and distributing more than 4 million pounds of food annually. Beginning in December, the Food Bank is undergoing a large expansion and renovation project which will increase its overall food storage capacity by 2.5 times, as well as allow the organization to provide additional services, such as food preparation and nutrition courses, which put its beneficiaries on a path to sustainable healthy eating.

Brown Construction is the general contractor managing the Yolo Food Bank expansion and renovation project. Ron Brown, President and CEO of Brown Construction, has committed to donating all profits from this project back to the Food Bank.

"Our company culture is built around giving back to the community," Ron Brown said of the commitment, "and the Yolo Food Bank is a critical part of our community especially in these times of scarcity. There was a need and we were in a good position to be able to fill that need, right here in our own backyard."

With only three small refrigerated storage units, the Food Bank has extremely limited capacity to accept donations of perishables, such as meat, dairy and produce. "We are crammed to the walls," says Yolo Food Bank Campaign and Project Director, Kevin Sanchez. "In September, we had to turn away a truckload of frozen meat because we had no place to store it." The construction project will increase the Food Bank's cold storage capacity by eight-fold; adding 4,300 square feet of freezers and coolers, including a blast chiller that will help extend the life of fresh produce. "When someone is down and out, you don't give them substandard food—they deserve to be treated with dignity and to be given good quality foods" says Sanchez.

In addition to increasing food storage capacity, the renovations will include offices, conference rooms, and sanitary food sorting facilities—all of which allow the Food Bank to provide a better, safer environment for a greater number of volunteers.

Perhaps the most significant change that this renovation will bring about is the addition of a commercial production kitchen and a culinary academy under the direction of Woodland Community College, which will offer accredited courses in the culinary arts. The academy's kitchen will also be used to teach food safety, food handling, nutrition, and cooking classes to the people served by the Food Bank. Sanchez was further quoted as saying, "It's a paradigm shift—we're moving away from being a passive and charitable organization to becoming a more proactive and sustainable organization allowing us to utilize the resources around us and to take full advantage of the bounty of this area."

The construction project is being funded through an ongoing capital campaign, EndHungerYolo. "The generosity of our community is overwhelming and I am so honored to know so many giving, caring people and organizations," Sanchez was quoted as saying.

Brown Construction, headquartered in Yolo County for over 50 years, selects at least one local community project each year to perform at no profit as part of the firm's "Build It Forward" program. Other Build It Forward projects include the West Sacramento Civic Center, the River Oaks Center for Children in Sacramento, and several Sacramento Zoo and Fairytale Town improvement projects.

To learn more about the Yolo Food Bank, to volunteer, or to donate, please click here.