Early in the morning on Saturday, March 21, 2015, an arsonist set the Food Bank for Monterey County ablaze, damaging multiple refrigerated trucks and the loading dock. It was the last straw for a nonprofit that had already outgrown its facility.

But the process of finding a new location took time. Fast-forward almost three years to Monday, Jan. 22, when Melissa Kendrick, the Food Bank’s executive director, celebrated the groundbreaking for a new 50,000-square-foot facility on West Rossi Street in Salinas.

The new facility is a much-needed expansion and upgrade for the nonprofit, which has been leasing an old tea-packing facility on West Market Street. The existing place has roughly 5,000 square feet of cold storage capacity; the new facility will provide 20,000 square feet, and aims to be fully powered by solar panels.

It’s in this same facility, Kendrick says, that the organization grew over the last 25 years from handling 100,000 pounds of food a year to more than 10 million; they needed to expand.

“As you can imagine, to get from 100,000 to 10 million is quite a task,” Kendrick told members of the staff, city officials, and the press on Monday morning. “It’s time to move on”.

The food bank serves one in five Monterey County residents, half of whom are children.

The new building launched roughly 18 months ago, following years of fundraising (including through Monterey County Gives!) and seed funding from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Harden Foundation, Sunlight Giving Foundation and the Monterey Peninsula Foundation.

The food bank is still raising money for its new facility, and launched what they’re calling the “Spoonful of Love” campaign. The goal is to sell 100,000 personalized engraved spoons at $100 each, which will be mounted on the wall of the new place when construction is complete.

The new spot is expected to open in June.