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Food bank to temporarily relocate to strip mall

March 16, 2004|by MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

Just when the volunteers at the soon-to-be displaced Williamsport Food Bank were struggling with the possibility of shutting down temporarily, their prayers were answered.

"We were wringing our hands when we heard from Don and Todd Bowman of D.M. Bowman Inc.," said Mary Anna Kline, food bank director. "They learned of our need from the newspaper story last month."

The result is that the food bank will have, for nine months, the free use of a 1,500-square-foot space in the Bowman strip mall that faces Interstate 81, Kline said.

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Starting Monday, March 29, the food bank will open its doors at 10210 Gov. Lane Blvd., which is south of the Harley-Davidson store, Kline said.

"When I was contacted by David Taylor, president of Bowman Development Corp., I asked him what we would be responsible for," Kline said. "He told me we would only have to turn off the lights and lock the door."

In addition to the free use of the space, the firm is picking up all overhead costs, Kline said.

The move was prompted by impending renovations at Zion Lutheran Church, the permanent home of the Williamsport Food Bank since it opened its doors 30 years ago.

"This Saturday, March 20, is moving day," Kline said Monday as she pulled canned goods off the shelves at the church and packed them in boxes. At the same time, she was filling orders for people since Monday is a regular pickup and drop-off day at the food bank.

Volunteers will finish the packing, load the inventory, the freezers and refrigerators onto personal pickup trucks and haul everything to the new location Saturday.

The food bank will be closed for the move Monday, March 22, and Thursday, March 25, during the regular 9 a.m. to noon hours.

Since all the wood shelving in the old food bank is attached to the walls of the church, there will be a need for metal shelving at both the temporary location and then when the food bank moves into its new quarters at the church, Kline said.

"Anyone who can donate metal shelving, large carpet remnants, desks and filing cabinets would be greatly appreciated," she said. Jewells and Jewells, an appliance company in Williamsport, is donating freezers and refrigerators as needed at the new location.

Greg Martin, pastor of Zion Lutheran, said the church is about to expand the parish house next to the church, adding an additional 10,000-12,000 square feet for a new social room and Sunday school classrooms.

"When that is completed, the food bank will move into what is now the social room and kitchen, both of which are street level in the back of the church building next door," Martin said.

Kline said that space will expand the storage, refrigeration and office space for the food bank.

Zion Lutheran, which is at 35 W. Potomac St., provides the space and utilities to the food bank at no cost and will continue to do so.

Between 75 to 80 Williamsport-area families are served by the food bank each month.

Anyone with emergency needs during the transition period may call the church at 301-223-7260.

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