Can a warehouse be cool, you might reasonably ask. This one can because of its purpose.
That purpose is to serve as a distribution hub for Foodlink’s community partners who feed people in need.
The 90,000-square-foot warehouse is filled to about three stories with boxes of food. Many signs hang around the space telling volunteers about the millions of pounds of food distributed each year. There are conveyor belts where people sort donated food, a large machine for sorting and bagging apples and other kinds of fruits or veggies. And it’s usually filled with dozens of volunteers helping to feed their neighbors.
Some 15,000 folks volunteer to work at the facility throughout the year (pre-COVID; there have been fewer volunteers in the last few months to maintain social distancing). To keep everyone safe and socially distant, Foodlink also opened a second temporary warehouse on Jefferson Road to keep the volume of food flowing to organizations and individuals.
The building that houses the Mt. Read facility was originally built for the 3M Corporation in 1968. It was a high-tech (at the time) manufacturing facility. The front of the building was designed in the International Style to house individual offices, but the warehouse itself sits in the back and is not visible from the road. Foodlink uses about 130,000 of the total 300,000 square feet of space in the building.