The Idea

According to the Community Health Needs Assessment of 2015, “Residents living in rural regions have limited access to needed health and social services due to their inability to obtain and secure transportation. Community leaders indicated that rural residents are the most at risk to “falling through the cracks” when seeking healthcare [and other social services]. Missed or canceled health appointments are frequent due to residents’ inability to secure reliable transportation even though residents rely on family, friends, and community organizations to help address their transportation needs."

We know that the above is very much an issue when it comes to whether people will show up for appointments for health care and other social services. Although they may want to go to a cooking or nutrition class or an appointment, when the day arrives, if there is no transportation or gas for the family car, the appointment and service is canceled or simply not attended. We know that our clients are interested in attending classes on nutrition and cooking; getting free or low cost health screenings; meeting with health insurers; getting flu shots; meeting with job recruiters and more but frequently can't find a way to get to these items if they stand alone.

We believe that people will use those services if they can couple them with the time that they come for their monthly visit to the food bank to shop for food.

Unfortunately, the current facility is set up to meet the needs of providing food to our 800-850 families each month with little space left over for anything else. Because we know that the need is so great, we are proposing to add on to the current building to provide space for outside vendors and agencies to come in and provide those very services. It makes it a one-stop for food as well as other necessary services.

We already have Sadler Health, Gateway Health, the Medicine Shoppe in Newport, Vision Resources, Pinnacle Health, and Rohrer Bus Company who have come in and tried to meet with our clients in the limited space of our waiting room and have done so with some success. However, there is no privacy and the very crowded conditions make things very uncomfortable for our providers and clients.

The new addition will provide for expanded waiting room space, two consultation rooms for dealing with clients in private for health screenings and clinics, flu shots, insurance and other counseling. The waiting area can be used for small group meetings with twenty-one seats. There is a large multipurpose room with seating for up to 50 for seminars and community meetings as well as dedicated space for cooking and nutrition classes. Included is a bathroom facility to handle the addition.

The new Health, Wellness, and Nutrition Education Center will be able to be isolated from the Food Bank itself so that it can stand alone for meetings during off hours.

The First Step

The Food Bank commissioned LeFever Wilk Architects, LLC to do a study to determine the feasibility for improving their services.The current facility does not provide adequate space for a fully functional modern food bank. The facility presently lacks private office space for health care counciling, easily accessible public rest rooms, adequate waiting area, small and large group areas/meeting space, and an instructional kitchen area for food preparation and nutritional education. In order to provide this much needed space for current and future programs an addition to the existing facility is required.

The study showed that an addition can be constructed which meshes with the existing site, is environmentally friendly and enhances the existing facility. The new construction and use of the facility falls within current zoning and building code regulations.

The study investigated the dollar amount required to construct the proposed addition and related site work. The construction cost estimate is based on current information such as material costs, labor costs, industry workloads and trends. The cost estimate also assumes the project may be funded by public grants which may be subject to public bidding and prevailing wages. The construction costs are currently estimated to be between $420,000 and $446,000 with a projected low bid range of $425,000.

The project will provide a new separate entrance so the addition can be used independently of the entire facility; provide a waiting area for approximately 20 people which could also be used as a small group meeting area; two private offices large enough to have meetings with a family; an ADA compliant restroom easily accessible to the public; seminar and instructional cooking space which would be able to accommodate seating for approximately 50 persons for meetings and seminars; and a covered entry for the existing and new entrances.


The Perry County Food Bank

The Perry County Food Bank is a collaborative effort of the Perry County Commissioners and Join Hands Ministry Inc. The Perry County Food Bank is an emergency food pantry located in a facility on the Perry County Prison grounds. The primary goal is to help supplement the food budgets of qualified Perry County households, the income of which must not exceed 150% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. Eligible residents are offered a variety of food in a grocery-store atmosphere – fresh produce, dairy products, canned and boxed items, and meat, as well as a small amount of personal care products, the last of which are secured through community giving. In addition to the emergency food pantry hours, the Perry County Food Bank operates eight outlying food bank distribution sites, which distribute food on the third Saturday of each month with the exception of the Blain and Millerstown sites which distribute on the Friday before the third Saturday.
The Perry County Food Bank is dedicated to providing assistance for Perry County individuals and families who are in need of supplemental food. We are committed to providing good, nutritional food in a friendly and dignified manner. To qualify, you must live in Perry County; you must have a social security card for each member of your household (all those living under the same roof); and you must meet the income guidelines as established by the Department of Agriculture.