CONCRETE, Wash. — A food bank in a small Washington town will get to remain in its building, thanks to former U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

Gates wrote the Concrete Food Bank a check for $11,500 late last month to cover the cost of purchasing the building where it has operated since 2004. Concrete is northeast of Seattle, in Skagit County, where Gates lives.

In a Friday, June 30, 2017, photo, former U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, left, reimburses the Concrete Food Bank the $11,500 it paid at auction for the building it occupies in Concrete, Wash. Food bank Vice President Angela Massingale, second right, made the winning bid.

Photo Credit: Scott Terrell/Skagit Valley Herald via AP

Food bank volunteers were worried when the county put the building up for sale, because the organization didn't have money to buy one and there aren't any other food banks within about 20 miles, which would be a hardship for its patrons.

The Skagit Valley Herald reports Gates also gave the food bank an additional $5,000.

Gates says he admires what the food bank does for the community.

In a June 30, 2017, photo, Concrete Food bank vice president Angela Massingale, left, Skagit County Commissioner Lisa Janicki center, and former U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who wrote a check covering the purchase of the food bank building from Skagit County, talk after the auction. The auction of the Skagit County-owned building included 15 bids from four bidders and lasted only minutes.

Photo Credit: Scott Terrell/Skagit Valley Herald via AP