“[I]f we're rescuing food that's perishable, we need to have refrigerated trucks to do it,” explains Fraser. “Many of our food banks don't have a lot of money, and a refrigerated truck can cost $100,000 to $150,000. In the last couple of years, we have aggressively sought funding for refrigerated trucks."
“I believe we have procured nearly $10 million worth of trucks for our network through grants, so that we can drive the truck to a grocery store, fill it with milk, meat, and other in demand, nutrient-rich perishable foods, get back to the food bank and secure it in the refrigerators there for distribution," continued Fraser.
Many community food banks are focusing their fundraising campaigns on expanding refrigerator space or creating their own unique solutions. Henry Rosenthal, the director of a small food bank in Point Roberts, Washington, explains how their local grocery store not only donates rescued “sell-by-date” produce, but freezer space as well.
And where there is just no freezer space available (or food bank at all), mobile food banks come to the rescue for many far-flung communities.
“We also have what we call ‘mobile pantries,’ ” explains Fraser. “This is like a grocery store on wheels. The mobile pantries are two sided, so half is dry goods and the other half is refrigerated goods...We can bring milk and eggs that we couldn’t do once upon a time.”
A new reality
Good nutrition is the foundation for human health. The new reality is that food banks now play a central role in providing quality nutrition for millions of Americans.
And they're able to play that role through a combination of national advocacy, collaboration and organization, local relationships and building awareness that food security affects us all.
Through key partnerships with industry, agriculture, business and local community groups, Feeding America is getting nutrition on the table, adding produce to meals and ensuring that nutrient-rich dairy products are available. Join the effort to keep 50 million Americans safe from hunger. For information on how you can get involved in your local food bank efforts, go to http://feedingamerica.org/get-involved.aspx.