Monday, July 07, 2014

Adding Perishable Items to Foods Offered by Food Banks and Pantries

Quality fruits, vegetables, dairy products and meat are essential to a balanced diet but can be expensive and difficult for food assistance programs to provide on a regular basis. To fill that gap, the Food Bank rescues fresh foods from area grocers and wholesalers and distributes them throughout our 21-county Central Texas service area.  -Capital Area Food Bank of Texas
In fiscal year 2014, City Harvest will collect 46 million pounds of food, greater than the total amount of food collected in its first 14 years combined.  Sixty percent of this total will be comprised of fresh fruits and vegetables.  At City Harvest, we recognize our responsibility to the people we serve and ensure the highest food safety standards in every facet of our food rescue operations.  We take careful steps to ensure that each pound of food is rescued and delivered safely.-City Harvest (which serves the New York City metropolitan area).

Hungry people benefit from rescued food providing a more well-rounded, balanced meal and diet. For the Food Bank, the program helps us secure food we would otherwise not have to distribute and ensures we always have a variety of different food available in our warehouses. There are benefits for the food donor too. Rescued food prevents good food from being thrown away and diverts food from landfills. It also helps food industry donors reduce disposal costs and frees up valuable floor space for storage of surplus food. -Roadrunner Food Bank, Albuquerque

When a union, a non-profit group, business or sports team organizes a food drive, the appeal is for participants to donate non-perishable food items. There are non-perishable protein items (peanut butter, canned tuna and beans), non-perishable vegetables (canned peas, corn, green beans), and non-perishable staples (pasta, rice).  These foods, in and of themselves, are valuable items to put in a food box.

Fighting hunger has become more holistic and nutrition-oriented, however, which means that perishable items have to be included in the mix. Capital Area Food bank of Texas (based in Austin), City Harvest in the New York City metropolitan area, Roadrunner Food Bank in Albuquerque and food banks and pantries around the country make every effort to ensure that fruits and vegetables, dairy products and meat are a part of the food items that are offered to client agencies.

One of the workshops at the End Hunger in New Mexico Summit on July 17-18, entitled Food Rescue in New Mexico, will examine the relationship between donations and nutrition, and how food rescue is important in this equation. This workshop will be led by Julie Anderson (Food Rescue Manager, CFR, Roadrunner Food Bank of New Mexico), Sherry Hooper (Executive Director, The Food Depot) and Hilda Kendal (COO, Community Pantry of Gallup and Grants)
Presenters will share stories of how engaging students, school food service directors, teachers, farmers, agencies, organizations and policymakers can change the health of children through school gardens, innovative nutrition education, getting NM grown fruits and vegetables into school meals, and how changing policies can benefit the health of our children and our farming economy. Listen to each manager on the Food Bank Program they manage. They will discuss the process necessary to rescue food and the rules and regulations around it. You will leave with the knowledge of who are the donors and why this has been such a successful program.    
A Refrigerated Truck for St. Felix Pantry in Rio Rancho
St. Felix Pantry in Rio Rancho wants to enhance its ability to provide perishable food items, and is close to raising enough money to acquire a refrigerated truck. A large share of the $58,000 cost of the truck is covered by a generous donation from the Masons, Albuquerque Lodge Number 60. 

“We still have requests out there for the balance of $18,000 in order to have the total amount necessary to buy a new $58,000 refrigerated truck that will be used daily,” said Manuel Casias, vice president of development at St. Felix. “This truck would serve as one of the necessary vehicles used for the St. Felix Pantry Rescue Food Program, which collects and redistributes nearly 1.9 million pounds of food each year that would otherwise end up in landfills.

“It will collect rescued food venues, including restaurants, schools and businesses, repackaged and donated to people in need,” added Casias.

Read more about Masons' donation in  Albuquerque Journal

Incidentally,Jack Bunting, President/CEO, St. Felix Pantry, will also co-present at a workshop at the End Hunger in New Mexico Summit. The workshop is entitled Collaboration not Competition -“Building Collaborative Partnerships” 
The Purpose of this workshop is to capture the importance of forming collaborative relationships to raise support and to expand needed services. We will examine the value of collaboration; demonstrate the effectiveness of collaboration and offer practical examples on creating powerful collaboration with other organizations.  

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