The Haymarket Regional Food Pantry is now open in a new location at 6611 Jefferson Street in Haymarket.
The food pantry started more than 10 years ago in a small historic home on Washington Street, but was required to move due to the Town of Haymarket’s plans to build on the site.
According to the food pantry’s Executive Director Eileen Smith, the organization had a difficult time finding the right location and looked at more than nine spots in Fauquier County and Haymarket.
“We ran into a couple of problems – one was zoning. The places weren’t zoned for an operation like us. Number two – the rent was too high. So we looked, and looked, and looked…and just kind of ran into a wall,” said Smith.
The Haymarket Regional Food Pantry requested a year extension on their lease to have more time to secure a new location, but that request was denied, said Smith.
The food pantry’s new location is a short-term rental property that they moved into in November. While it’s short-term, the new space comes with plenty of benefits, according to Smith.
“We’ve gained 2,200 square feet, we were at 1,100 in the house – now we’re at 3,300. What this has allowed us to do is set up more of a grocery store kind of experience for our customers. We still give them the boxes…but what has changed is in our very large distribution room, they can select from a variety of different products,” said Smith.
Smith said they’re now able to offer fresh produce and additional food items.
The food pantry plans to stay in the space for now, while they work on a permanent solution. According to Smith, the Gainesville Ruritans have 6-acres of land off of Route 15, and are offering to let them use some of that space for a new food pantry location.
“They have graciously offered some of that land to us so that we can build a permanent structure…our relocation committee now, instead of looking for places, has been searching for an engineering firm,” said Smith.
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