PASCO -- Ted Scott stood in the new Society of St. Vincent de Paul facility in Pasco and pointed to four huge bags of rice. Each weighed 1 ton.
The nonprofit's old site could have handled maybe one bag at a time, Scott said. "Now we can go and pick it (all) up and bring it back and be set for several months with it," said Scott, president of the local group.
The new St. Vincent de Paul Food Bank and Community Services Building on South Sixth Avenue opened in January. A public celebration marking its debut is planned Saturday.
Tours will be available.
The 16,000-square-foot building includes warehouse and food distribution space, plus clothing distribution and sorting areas, private meeting space and more. One room is used by a retired physician to provide blood pressure checks.
"We're proud of (the new building) and also very humbled," Scott said. "All these people came together and we have this great facility."
The building's price tag totals about $1.9 million, covered by money from the sale of the previous site, savings and donations. St. Vincent still needs to raise about $500,000, Scott said.
A bridge loan from Community First Bank helped the nonprofit finish the new facility.
The food bank and community services center replaces the old site on West Lewis Street, which was purchased by the city of Pasco to make way for the planned Lewis Street overpass.
Scott said the nonprofit has seen a growing number of clients in recent years. In January, it provided food to about 3,200 families and clothing to 960 families, among other help.
Sina Pierret, past president and co-manager of the food bank with Scott, said the new building has to space to accommodate even more services.
"We want to offer programs to help people improve their situations to cross the bridge out of crisis or poverty," she told the Herald.
The new building is more functional, Pierret said, describing it a "dream come true."
The facility is at 215 S. Sixth Ave. It's open for food and clothing distribution from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesdays. Donations can be dropped off from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays or by appointment. Contact: 544-9315.
Saturday's celebration starts at 11 a.m.
-- Sara Schilling: 582-1529; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @saraTCHerald