The Largest Food Bank in the World Won’t Be Built from Scratch

From RdlR Architects: Drawings showing how the former Sysco Foods HQ on Portwall St. off I-10 just inside the East Loop will look when its transformation into what its sponsors claim will be the world’s largest food bank is complete. The Houston Food Bank bought the facility — which includes a 298,000-sq.-ft. warehouse and a 130,000-sq.-ft. freezer building — back in April, for $17 million. The nonprofit hopes to be able to distribute 120 million pounds of food annually by 2018.


The bank will include a volunteer center, community rooms, classrooms, and a cafe. A view of the original Sysco warehouse:

Images: RdlR Architects (renderings); Houston Food Bank (plan and photo)

4 Comment

  • That’s great!….I guess? Isn’t that really sad though that there is such a need for food assistance in our community? Who would have thought that in the Space City of the Future that so many people would go to bed hungry?

  • The Food Bank provides awesome meal boxes to recipients, in daily- and weekly-sizes.
    All the food-groups represented, including kid-pleasing snacks.
    As a sometime volunteer packaging these things, I like to think of the joy on someone’s face to get one of these clean, safe cardboard boxes of happiness.
    But, CRAP! the amount of waste in them! Everything in a vacuum-formed tray, plastic-wrapped and accompanying other hermetically-sealed samples, in a well-designed, printed corrugated, plastic-taped box that will also end up in the trash can. Literally: every pound of food yields a pound of trash.
    It’s just all so wrong. Better to feed people at the kitchen (which would be, ideally, adjacent to an actual farm.) The Food Bank is driven from the top – donations and logistics – instead from a position of true efficiency, where there’d also be the possibility of participation from the clientele that is served.

  • I agree Scott – it would be wonderful if the existing facility was big enough. I have also volunteered at the food bank and they do wonderful things for those that really need the assistance. There are also those that are beneficiaries of the Food Bank that live in a perpetual welfare state and continued handouts are not going to help them learn how get thier life together and become productive members of society.

  • @movocelet,

    We have volunteered at the Food Bank on several occasions but have not seen the waste you describe, perhaps we have always worked on the larger family boxes containing: several canned goods, fruit juice, peanut butter, rice, pasta etc. To be honest it is all good, not like a hungry person cares about the packaging waste.