Kitimat food bank looking out for a new home

The Kitimat Food Bank is looking for a new home after their lease isn't renewed for their mall location.

The Kitimat Food Bank, which has been in the City Centre Mall for five years, will have to find a new home as early as the end of January.

The lease they hold with the mall is not being renewed, so as of January 31 — or later if they can arrange a month-to-month lease — they’ll have to either be in a new home, or Kitimat may see a temporary hiatus of a crucial community program.

Food Bank President Marjorie Phelps said they want the word out that they’re looking for a new home.

The Food Bank does have a preference check-list for potential new homes, which includes being on a transit route and in an affordable spot.

So the Service Centre, with no bus access, couldn’t work for them.

“It should be fairly central because our clients have to use public transit or walk or bum a ride from someone,” said Food Bank Vice-President Bill Willis.

But he doesn’t intend to leave their current location on a sour note with the mall owner.

“This place, we’re really, really grateful for getting this place at the price,” he said. “It was a lifesaver for us because we were in Nechako Centre…the only reason it wasn’t condemned is because we were still there.”

Phelps said that depending on what location they eventually find, they may go to the community — either to the District, from which they don’t receive money from now, or other donors — for a boost to help them afford Kitimat’s new rent.

“We know the rent’s going to be high because of the economy right now,” she said. “Maybe there is someone in town who can help us out.”

They’ll be crossing their fingers they can find a place with enough space. Right now they have a number of refrigerators and freezers, in addition to the fully stocked shelves of non-perishable food.

They also use their location for initial stockpiling for the Christmas Hamper program.

“I supposed we could do with a little bit less, but not much,” said Phelp.

But no one really believes the Food Bank will have to close its doors, even though it’s a possibility on a short term basis.

“We’re doing everything we can possibly think of to keep ourselves in business,” said Willis.

We reached out to City Centre Mall owner Jerry Minni on this subject, but he said it’s a matter between landlord and tenant and wouldn’t comment.