(Kansas City, Mo.) –Harvesters—The Community Food Network’s Kansas Distribution Center, currently located in downtown Topeka, Kansas (215 SE Quincy Street), will move to a new location in Lawrence, Kansas, in 2024.
The move should not change the quality or level of food assistance the center currently provides to its nonprofit partner agencies in Topeka and Shawnee County and the other 12 counties in northeast Kansas that receive food from this facility.
Harvesters needs to vacate its current Topeka facility (by June of 2024) because the building will be demolished as part of the infrastructure project to replace the I-70 Polk-Quincy viaduct.
Harvesters’ leadership team and Board of Directors were interested in remaining in the Topeka or Shawnee County area, but after an extensive year-long search were unable to find a new property that met the organization’s specific needs, including affordable cost, convenient highway access, high ceilings (for warehouse racking), size (at least 45,000 square feet or larger), necessary zoning (for warehouse and distribution center activities), and availability (operational, with no interruption in service, in the timeframe required for vacating Harvesters’ current facility).
“Our number one priority is to our partner agencies and the neighbors they serve,” said Stephen Davis, President and CEO of Harvesters—The Community Food Network. “It is critical we have no disruption in the distribution of food to the communities we serve.”
Harvesters is in negotiations with the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) to sell its current property.
“As a nonprofit organization, we want to be good stewards of our resources,” said Davis. “The most cost-effective solution for us is to purchase and renovate an existing building. We forecast that this will be much less expensive than building a new facility from the ground up or razing an existing building and then building new. The need for hunger relief remains high, and we want to ensure we can prioritize our investments in that area of our mission.”
“Unfortunately, with the timeframe we have, we could not find a location in Topeka that would meet our unique needs,” said Davis. We are pleased we have found a location that meets our needs and is within 30 miles of our current location. This will still allow us to effectively serve our network of partner agencies throughout 13 counties in northeast Kansas.”
The new location in Lawrence is close to a main I-70 exit at 1220 Timberedge Road. The building is 75,000 square feet, but Harvesters plans to add another 10,000 square feet of space with the addition of a freezer and docks. Harvesters is expected to close on this property by the end of December, with renovation construction expected to begin in January of 2023.
Prior to the move to Lawrence in the spring of 2024, business will continue as normal at the Topeka facility. Volunteers can still help sort and repackage food donations and agency partners can still pick up food orders. In fiscal year 2022, the Kansas Distribution Center distributed 13.6 million pounds of food to 13 counties in northeast Kansas. The number of staff employed at the Kansas Distribution Center is 18.
Harvesters’ facility in Kansas City, Missouri will remain where it is, and operations will continue there as they do now.