A local non–profit is about to reach a milestone.

Food Start U.P.  received an acceptance letter from the IRS confirming its 501(c)(3) status and is now designated as a 509(a)(2) public charity.

“A bunch of us manufactures got together and we saw that there was a problem. So we started a group of a bunch of us and we held meetings monthly. We have multiple meetings a month depending on what’s going on,” said Teresa Mauldin, President of Food Start U.P. “We did a lot researching, brainstorming and benchmarking other successful organizations and found that 501(c)(3) was right for us. It lends credibility to our organization and it allows us for better funding and grant opportunities.”

Food Start U.P. will provide food processing space and equipment, as well as food business education, mentoring, technical assistance and more services in the food industry.

“Food Start U.P. is designed to help out anybody who has a small food production business. Sometimes it might be cottage producers who are looking to expand the reach of their products beyond farmers markets and things like that,” said Michael Morgan, Treasurer of Food Start U.P. “It’s designed to provide a facility that meets all the standards for food production and has all the equipment and services all in one location, that there going to need to scale up their business.”

The organization plans to launch a fundraising campaign in the future.

Their website will be available later this summer.