The Shediac Food Bank and Community Thrift Store used to share the same tight space, but that’s about to change.

The plan is to move the thrift store into a separate, larger building, which will open up opportunities for both to expand.

“All the money generated from this place will be going back into the program to help buy food for the people in need and also establish more programs,” said food bank president Judson Cassidy.

That will include a space for G.E.D. classes, yoga, and a teaching kitchen to name a few.

“It is all about giving them a sense of belonging somewhere, of being part of something and having the normal see that we all have so they do come out and they do their groceries and they participate in programs and events,” said food bank executive director Carol Boudreau.

The idea is to have the food bank become more like a grocery store where clients can choose the food that suits them.

The food bank helps close to 500 people. A lot of them are children who will soon be returning to class. Boudreau says the new food and clothing depot will be there to help

“So therefore the book bags, the lunch bags, their snacks, they're healthy snacks for school and their school supplies,” Boudreau said.

Officials here at the food bank have started a food recovery program. Every month they pick up thousands of kilograms of donated, day-old food items from local grocery stores.

It’s an important source of food especially this time of year.

“In the summertime the food donations are a little less in July and August because people are away camping and a lot of people tend to forget,” Boudreau said.

There are 10 staff members that help run the food bank and clothes depot, but like most non-profit organizations it's the volunteers that are essential to its success.

“I've always been that way, that I like to help out,” said volunteer Charlie Gallant. “And now that I'm retired, I figured I could spend a little bit of time.”

With the expansion well underway, volunteers like Gallant will have more room to do what he does best.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Jonathan MacInnis.