The Elk Grove Food Bank is searching for a new home after its yearly lease was not renewed by its landlords in December.
The food bank, which has operated in Elk Grove for 41 years, has been on a month-to-month lease this year at its warehouse at 9820 Dino Drive, where it has been housed for the past five years.
Executive director Marie Jachino said an influx in clients has caused other tenants in the industrial lot to complain about traffic, prompting Jackson Properties not to renew the food bank’s yearly lease.
A Jackson Properties representative did not return phone calls seeking comment.
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“It took us a while to get over the initial shock of having to relocate, so we’ve been actively looking the last three or four months (for a new location),” Jachino said.
She said a “tremendous increase” in the number of people seeking food in Elk Grove has driven more to seek help from the food bank. It is the city’s only such service, providing meals, clothing, help with job searches, and housing counseling.
A Sacramento Hunger Coalition report found that nearly 10 percent of Elk Grove residents are food insecure. About the same percentage of residents in the area live below the poverty line, according to U.S. census data.
The Elk Grove Food Bank serves about 4,500 clients every month, a 92 percent increase over the past six years. More than 900 of the clients are seniors, a group Jachino is particularly concerned about.
“We’re talking about very low, low-income seniors,” she said. “(They’re) trying to decide, do they do their medications, pay for utility or rent, or do they buy food?”
In addition to handing out donated groceries from the warehouse, the Elk Grove Food Bank runs monthly programs that deliver food to homebound people and to nearby migrant workers.
Over Thanksgiving last year, the food bank handed out meals at its warehouse, drawing hundreds and causing street congestion. Judy Sala, a case manager at the food bank who assesses each client’s circumstances, said the event may have contributed to the property manager’s traffic concerns.
“I don’t think we take up too much parking space,” Sala said. “But maybe it’s time for us to have a permanent home.”
The food bank needs enough room to house a warehouse and commercial refrigerators to store perishables.
City spokeswoman Kristyn Nelson said the city’s real estate staff is helping the food bank with the search. The food bank receives grants from the city yearly.
On Thursday, Carmillia Lemar, 70, hitched a ride from a friend to make her monthly grocery pickup at the food bank.
“Coming here, I don’t need to budget for groceries,” she said. “It’s a life-saver.”
Lemar, an Elk Grove resident, said since moving to the state, she has struggled to find a job because of her age.
“Moving would affect people that really couldn’t get out here,” she said of the relocation. “You have to have a place where people can get to.”