McGallian, Aliano lead Concord effort to ­provide food storage for local organizations

McGallian, Aliano lead Concord effort to ­provide food storage for local organizations

McGallian, Aliano lead Concord effort to ­provide food storage for local organizations
Concord Mayor Tim McGallian, left, and Vice Mayor Dominic Aliano stand in the food warehouse the city organized in the former 90,000 sf. KMart building on Clayton Road. The warehouse will provide much needed storage for the Contra Costa Solano Food Bank, White Pony Express, First 5 of Contra Costa and St. Vincent dePaul.

CONCORD, CA—As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to demand more from food banks, Concord Mayor Tim McGallian and Vice Mayor Dominic Aliano have found a way to create more storage for local groups.

For the past several months, local organizations and food banks have been storing millions of pounds of food in the old KMart store on Clayton Road. The non-profits began to lack space in their storage facilities as food donations sharply increased last March due to COVID-19.

After seeing the rise in food insecurity across the country, McGallian and Aliano knew local organizations could see demand skyrocket.

“We had county health officers telling us that we were going into a shelter in place situation back in March, and our first thought was that people were going to need food,” Aliano said.

Making it work

With funding coming from the Todos Santos Business Association Arts Foundation and a grant from Kaiser, the city created the storage space for local non-profits including the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano, White Pony Express, First 5 of Contra Costa and the St. Vincent de Paul food pantry.

“Finding this space was one of those things where Dominic and I just put our heads down and made it happen,” McGallian told the Pioneer. “Dominic had resources, I had resources and we knew we could make this happen.”

The foundation contracted with Merlone Geier, the group that owns the building, to take over the huge space with zero rent. The city is providing some financial support to take care of minor building maintenance.

Aliano noted that Concord Planning Commission Chair Ray Barbour, Garaventa Enterprises and the IBEW Local 302 also all made substantial contributions of time, effort and dollars.

Quick on their feet

Concord Mayor Tim McGallian.

When the world began to shut down last March, Aliano and McGallian made it a top priority to find more space for local organizations.

“Almost right away, we set this building up,” McGallian said. “We had this thing set up within a week or two of when we began. The only thing that took us longer was some of the paperwork.”

Even with the delay from paperwork, Aliano said the new storage facility was up and running in late April. Since opening, food and resources have been dropped off every single day.

“When the time came, we were ready,” McGallian said. “When the million pounds of food showed up, we had a place to put it and then some.”

Plan going forward

When they transitioned the old Kmart into the storage facility, Aliano and McGallian had no idea how long it would stay that way. With groups continuing to pick up and drop off supplies daily, McGallian said the plan, as of now, is to keep it open until the organizations no longer need it.

“At this point, we are probably now going to keep it open until the middle of summer, at least,” McGallian said.