This year, we've started something new at the Food Bank--mobile pantries. They're a new way for us to distribute large volumes of food directly and quickly to larger numbers of people in need.
To give credit where credit is due, the first mobile pantry was piloted by the Feeding America West Michigan Food Bank. Using modified beer delivery trucks, they were able to eliminate the need for storage between getting the food and getting it to the people that need it most. They used their vehicle and were able to serve over a hundred clients in a few hours. The Atlanta Community Food Bank began doing this in September 2010 and met the same results.
Mobile pantries are needed now more than ever. A lot of our agencies don't have the ability to store a lot of food at their locations. Some of these locations were never design to store or distribute grocery product. The need for food is growing while help at agencies seems to be decreasing leaving them open only for a few hours a few days a week.
We recognize the need for mobile pantries and how well they work. They're key in helping us achieve our goal of being able to distribute product to counties and communities that are underserved.
On previous mobile pantry runs, the staff at the Food Bank have been more than willing to help with whatever is needed. The way it has been set up is people from the community or congregation of a local agency receive a number inside the church. They come out and receive a box or bag and go down the line collecting the food that we've been able to bring out. Food has ranged from fruit to baked goods to various canned items that help the need a little bit at a time.
"Since September 2010, the Mobile Food Pantry program has helped ACFB in conjunction with its agencies to distribute groceries to over 15,000 individuals," said Rudy Serrano, Agency Services Manager.