The first Spokane Food Bank outlet on the South Hill opened last week in the old Manito branch library at 404 E. 30th.
The outlet is operated by Manito Presbyterian Church, which last summer purchased the former library for its social-service programs.
Hours for the food bank are 10 a.m. to noon on Saturdays only, but plans call for expanding hours to Tuesdays early next year.
“We are pretty excited about it,” said Al Brislain, executive director of the Spokane Food Bank. “Who would have thought there would be a need up there?”
The truth is, Brislain said, the South Side has more economic diversity than people think. There are pockets of low-income residents on the lower South Hill, in southeast Spokane and south of the city limits.
Sheri McNeil, business manager at the church, said the new outlet is an expansion of the emergency food pantry operated by the church in recent years. It also includes a clothing bank for needy residents.
With the Manito Presbyterian outlet and another new food outlet in Mead, Brislain said, the Spokane Food Bank now has 18 outlets countywide serving 13,000 people a month. At least half of those served are children, he said.
The food bank outlets are counting on generosity from residents this weekend when the Boy Scouts conduct their annual food drive to replenish stocks for the coming winter, Brislain said.
McNeil said the church also plans to use the former branch library for a youth center and a general meeting room.
The youth center will be an expansion of the church’s existing youth programs and will be open to non-church members for the first time.