The McPherson County Food Bank broke ground Tuesday on a 2,000-square-foot expansion of its facility at 707 S. Main St.

The McPherson County Food Bank broke ground Tuesday on a 2,000-square-foot expansion of its facility at 707 S. Main St.

The expansion was first considered by the food bank board three years ago as members saw the need to serve the community increase.

Between 2007 and 2011, use of the food bank grew by 50 percent. During that same time period, the pounds of food distributed increased by 45 percent.

The center is averaging more than 200 families per month seeking assistance.

A capital campaign that began in August has raised more than $248,231 in donations and pledges toward the project, which will create more space to serve the growing demands on the center.

“We have had overwhelming support,” Rick Tuxhorn, Food Bank president, said at the groundbreaking Tuesday. ... “To the McPherson County contributors, we thank you.”

Pat Bruce, who served as co-chairperson of the fundraising committee with Dale Ladd and Dr. Ted Kessinger, also thanked everyone who donated time and money to the campaign.

“What a great day this is,” she said. “It is exciting and amazing what McPherson people can do when we come together.”

McPherson’s National Cooperative Refining Association was a significant contributor to project, making donations of $15,000 prior to the start of the capital campaign. NCRA has given a total of $24,000 to the project to date. An anonymous donor contributed $50,000 to the project. Pat and Larry Bruce gave $25,000 to the project. Six other donors made pledges or gifts of more than $10,000.

The expansion, which will extend to the north of the current building, will include more seating in the waiting room, movable partitions, an office in which families will be able to fill out paperwork, and several more areas of storage space. In addition, an ADA-compliant bathroom will be added to the southeast part of the building, and a walk-in freezer will be added to the east side of the building.

Nick Vonce Construction is the contractor on the project; Randy Clark is the architect on the project.

Construction is under way at the site and is expected to be completed this summer.

The McPherson County Food Bank was created by St. Joseph Catholic Church in 1983 in the “Little Red Schoolhouse” at Elm and Earl streets in McPherson. The current location was donated by John Peterson in 1986.

The McPherson Food Bank is open from 10 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. Tuesdays and 2 to 4:45 p.m. Fridays for those needing assistance.

For more information, call 241-8050.