In 1999, Meals on Wheels and the Food Shuttle each began planning to build a commercial kitchen. They quickly recognized that a single common facility could fill the needs of both organizations. This evolved into a joint venture, and Food Runners Collaborative, Inc. was formed.
The Food Shuttle and Meals On Wheels have each experienced exploding needs and shrinking resources to meet those needs. Extensive research and consultation with area and state leaders resulted in a plan for operating a common kitchen. The plan met the organizational needs of both organizations and offered significant cost savings to the community. The resulting Capital Fundraising Campaign demonstrated that this was truly a cooperative public and private collaboration. Major contributors to the Capital Campaign included the A. J. Fletcher Foundation, Capitol Broadcasting Company, Catholic Deanery of Raleigh, Catholic Diocese of Raleigh, Hillsdale Fund, State of North Carolina, City of Raleigh, Wake County, and Wake Med.
The location at the corner of Blair and Barbour Drives on the Dix Campus, immediately adjacent to the North Carolina State Farmers Market, was a major in-kind donation by the State of North Carolina, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and the Department of Health and Human Services. The site is strategic for many reasons, including its proximity to the Farmers Market – the Food Shuttle’s largest food donor, and access to major highways for food delivery and distribution. The Food Runners facility was designed by Mullinax & Cofer, Architects, PLLC. and the prime contractor was Sparrow Construction Company.
- June 20, 2002
- Ground breaking
- November 4, 2003
- Construction began
- November 18, 2004
- Grand Opening
- November 22, 2004
- MOW and Food Shuttle began operating from the facility.
- March 1, 2005
- Food Runners shipped first Senior Meals to Meals On Wheels of Wake County.
- May 23, 2005
- Food Runners began full production of Senior Meals to five programs in three counties.
- January 11, 2006
- The Food Runners building was dedicated as the Vernon Malone Center.
- February 22, 2007
- Food Runners shipped the One-Millionth Hot Senior Meal from our kitchen.
- December 18, 2008
- Food Runners shipped the Two-Millionth Senior Meal from our kitchen.
- July 30, 2010
- Food Runners delivered its Three-Millionth Senior Meal to Meals on Wheels of Wake County, its largest senior meal client.
- June 22, 2012
- Food Runners shipped its Four-Millionth Senior Meal from our kitchen.
- May 23, 2014
- Food Runners shipped its Five-Millionth Senior Meal from our kitchen.
- March 23, 2016
- Food Runners shipped its Six-Millionth Senior Meal from our kitchen.