We were especially interested in some of the changes Nancy saw occurring:
- The food bank is outgrowing its present space as the need for emergency food increases.
- The proportion of food coming to the food bank from grocery stores or food
manufacturersis decreasing because the food industry is becoming much better at minimizing waste and producing or ordering only what’s needed. Thus, the proportion coming from the federal government commodities program is increasing.
- The CT Food Bank is working to find new ways to get food to those who need it. For example, they run a BackPack program to give kid-friendly nutritious food to 1200 food insecure kids when they leave school on Friday. Packs include foods like Cheerios, milk, fruit, beans & franks, etc., all in shelf-stable single-serving packages that the kids can eat without adult assistance.
- There is more of a push to include fresh produce among the foods supplied to client programs. It’s very challenging to pick up donated fresh produce from the grocery stores or other sources and get it to the client programs undamaged and before it spoils. Many programs don’t have refrigerator or freezer facilities, they may not have appropriate vehicles to transport fresh produce, and they may only be open once a week or even less frequently.
- The need for emergency food is increasing in certain areas with few food pantries. So the CT Food Bank has started mobile food pantries to supply primarily fresh foods. They’re awaiting a new truck that they’ve purchased with federal stimulus money; this truck will be specially configured with doors on the sides to make it work well as a mobile pantry.