Construction is now ongoing at Good Cheer Food Bank. (Photo by Carol Squire/Good Cheer)

Construction is now ongoing at Good Cheer Food Bank. (Photo by Carol Squire/Good Cheer)

Ground broken on new addition to Good Cheer Food Bank

The new building addition will help community members navigate Whidbey’s various social services.

Good Cheer Food Bank will soon get a new building addition that will help community members navigate the various social services of Whidbey.

Construction crews broke ground Thursday on the project, which will involve demolishing the overhang on the front of the building and replacing it with a nearly 1,000-square-foot addition, according to Good Cheer Executive Director Carol Squire.

The idea for extending the building came from the desire to have a private space where current food bank customers can express their needs — beyond just food — and receive one-on-one assistance without the fear of being overheard by other customers. The organization has Americorps members and community volunteers who can help people access social services, such as housing or unemployment assistance.

Squire said Good Cheer recognized the demand for private counseling almost three years ago, after conducting a survey on food insecurity.

“It was during that survey that we realized how many needs there were, and that food insecurity isn’t caused by lack of food but financial security,” she said. “And financial security has underlying causes such as health costs, child care.”

The current office space does not afford seclusion, Squire said. “There is no place where we could have that conversation.”

Realizing there was some “wasted space” in front of the food bank, the plan was to create an addition creating more offices and space to meet.

The project is expected to take six to nine months to complete.

Throughout construction, the food bank will remain open.

During the summertime, people have been able to receive private counseling in a nearby gazebo on the property — but once winter hits, Squire noted, it won’t be a viable solution.

Construction is now ongoing at Good Cheer Food Bank. (Photo by Carol Squire/Good Cheer)

Construction is now ongoing at Good Cheer Food Bank. (Photo by Carol Squire/Good Cheer)

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