(WBNG Binghamton) The Food Bank of the Southern Tier on Tuesday announced that it is one of only seven food banks in the country to receive a challenge grant from the Hussman Foundation of Maryland to purchase a new truck for the Food Bank’s nationally recognized Mobile Food Pantry Program.
According to a news release:
Feeding America, the Nations' Food Bank Network, made this opportunity possible in partnership with the Hussman Foundation. The $58,137 grant must be matched dollar-for-dollar by December 31, 2012. To date the Food Bank has raised $35,000 of the required match with Tioga Downs Casino Racing & Entertainment and the Triad Foundation making the initial donations.
“Receiving this grant is a great honor,” states Food Bank President & CEO Natasha Thompson. “Most important, it gives us the ability to distribute perishable food directly to more rural and high-need communities. Many of those communities don’t have a food pantry close by or have one that is only open a few hours a month.”
The Mobile Food Pantry Program was started in 2007 as a way to ensure that food-insecure people in remote communities have access to food from the Food Bank. Among food banks distributing less than 10 million pounds of food annually, it is ranked first in the nation. Today the Food Bank of the Southern Tier’s Mobile Food Pantry Program is sixth in the nation in terms of people served.
The Food Bank of the Southern Tier’s Mobile Food Pantry Program currently consists of two converted 35-foot beverage trucks which deliver fresh produce, dairy products, and other food and grocery products directly to distribution sites where people need food. The Mobile Food Pantry can transport up to 15,000 pounds of food with a typical mobile pantry distribution, providing food to 200 to 250 families in need.
In 2011, the Mobile Food Pantry trucks distributed 2,795,042 pounds of food, including 626,462 pounds of produce, at 476 distributions. A third truck will enable the Mobile Food Pantry Program to operate six days a week, including Saturday, instead of every other Saturday. The new truck is expected to be on the road in January 2013, and its first year of operation will a the Food Bank to serve approximately 65,000 more people