The Wyoming Food Bank of the Rockies held an open house in Mills Thursday to dedicate their new volunteer center. With a grant from Daniel's Fund, the food bank renovated their warehouse last summer to accommodate their staff and volunteers at a cost of around 65,000 dollars.

WFBR Director Kim Summerall-Wright said they moved offices for staff and now they now have a reception area, a break area for volunteers and an additional restroom.

Summerall-Wright, volunteer driven:

"We're actually celebrating our new volunteers center, which was made possible by a grant from the Daniel's Fund. And what that's done for us is we are a volunteer driven organization; there are only five people that actually work here, and so our volunteers are very important to us, and about six months ago, we built our volunteer center to encourage more people to come and volunteer their time to help us move our five million pounds of food a year through the food bank."

Ms. Summerall-Wright says the food bank serves every county in Wyoming and the need has increased.

Summerall-Wright, need increase:

"Wyoming Food Bank of the Rockies had done, on average, about two and a quarter million pounds of food for the last four years, the most recent being two and a half, and in 12 months, we went from two and a half million pounds to just at five million pounds of food in one year, and so the need has changed. The face of Wyoming has changed, and the majority of the people we're seeing are what we call the working poor, and those are the people we're seeing the greatest increase in."

Among the attendees of the open house was U.S. Sen. John Barrasso.

U.S. Sen. John Barrasso, Wyoming way:

"Well, it's terrific what these folks do, and the Daniel's Fund has helped but it is people all around Wyoming trying to help our neighbors, which is the way we do it in Wyoming. And I wanted to be here to show my support to the fine work that's done by these great volunteers. This is part of what's great about Wyoming; the distances are far but the food bank helps people all around the state."

The food bank began as an extension of the Food Bank of the Rockies in Colorado, which has been in existence for 28 years, and the plan was to have the Wyoming food bank to eventually become its own entity. That's happening now, says Summerall-Wright.

Summerall-Wright, board members sought:

"We are at six years, and we just found out last week that we are ready to go ahead and move forward with that process, so over the next six months we'll be looking for high-impact board members who are willing to come on board and make Wyoming Food Bank of the Rockies a Wyoming entity, run by Wyoming people, for Wyoming people."

If you're interested in being a board member or would like more information, you can call 1-877-265-2172, in Casper, just 265-2172, or you can log onto foodbankrockies-dot-org.