HATFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts will officially start the construction phase for its larger and greener food distribution center and headquarters with an event in Chicopee on June 2.

According to the news release sent to 22News by the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, the private event will take place in the Chicopee Business Park at the construction site and future location of the food bank. Scheduled speakers at the groundbreaking include Mayor John Vieau of Chicopee, Congressman Richard Neal, and Congressman Jim McGovern. All three lawmakers have been highly supportive of the Food Bank’s expansion and planned move to Hampden County, where more than half of the individuals who receive food assistance from The Food Bank reside.

Other invited speakers include Laura Canter, Executive Vice President of MassDevelopment, Michelle LeClair, Chief Investment Officer of Mascoma Community Development, and Matt Bannister, Senior Vice President, Marketing and Corporate Responsibility of PeoplesBank.

Andrew Morehouse, Executive Director of The Food Bank, will explain how the new facility and a move to Hampden County will strengthen food security in the entire region.

“We are eternally grateful to the community at all levels for supporting our capital campaign to build our future home which will enable The Food Bank to carry out its mission for decades to come,” said Andrew Morehouse, Food Bank executive director.

In 2020, The Food Bank purchased an undeveloped parcel of land at Chicopee Business Park from the Westmass Area Development Corporation to build a much larger distribution center and headquarters to meet the growing need for healthy emergency food for residents at risk of hunger across Western Massachusetts.

The organization has outgrown its current headquarters in Hatfield, and the Food Bank has had to turn away more than 1 million pounds of food donations due to a lack of adequate storage space.