Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane recently visited our Raleigh Branch for the first time. She took a tour, a helpie, and had several questions about the Food Bank. We thought they were too good not to share!
1. How do you get the food to the kids in the summer?
In the summertime, we sponsor the USDA’s Summer Food Service Program, what we call Kids Summer Meals. Across our 34 county service area, we purchase and collect healthy food items that kids can eat for breakfast and lunch, including fresh fruit. Community-based organizations that operate summer feeding sites then pick up the food from the Food Bank, or we bring it to them, at no cost. And then the final step: Volunteers at these sites serve the nutritious meals to kids in need five days a week.
The typical breakfast includes a bowl of cereal with low-fat milk, fresh fruit, and juice. Typical lunches include a sandwich, applesauce, cheese sticks, a piece of fresh fruit, and 100% fruit juice and/or low-fat milk to drink.
Last year, the Food Bank sponsored 90 summer feeding sites, serving over 136,000 meals to more than 4,100 children.
2. How do you distribute food drive donations?
When food drive donations come in, our volunteers inspect each item, making sure there are no compromising dents and the product is safe to eat. Then they sort it into boxes of like-items such as canned vegetables, cereal, and pasta. Our partner agencies then come to the Food Bank and select the items they need. Finally, they bring it back to their agency, whether it be a food pantry, soup kitchen, or other kind of assistance center, and provide the food to folks in need.
3. Is there a product that you receive that you don’t want?
While we welcome all types of food donations, there are a few things we cannot accept: (1) Food that is already opened. Items must be sealed in the original packaging from the manufacturer. We follow strict USDA guidelines on food safety to help ensure the safety of those we serve. So if you are donating items from your own pantry, be sure to double-check those peanut butter jars! (2) Homemade goods or food without itemized ingredients. Donations must be store-bought with the ingredients listed on the product. Again, food safety is our goal! We also have to look out for people with special dietary needs or allergies. (3) Clothing. Please bring your clothing donations to your local thrift store.
P.S. We do except other non-food essentials such as toilet paper, diapers, toothpaste and cleaning supplies!
4. Do you receive food from the farmers market?
Yes, indeed we do! We have great partnerships with local farmers that allow us to distribute nutritious produce to folks in need. In fact, last year we distributed 18 million pounds of fresh produce!
5. Do you accept baby formula?
Yes, indeed we do! Just give us a couple of weeks on the expiration date so that we can make sure to provide it to a home in need. And if you’re donating through a food drive, no glass please!
Thanks so much for visiting the Food Bank, Mayor! We thoroughly enjoyed your company and are so grateful for your support. And—we’d like to add—you take an awesome helpie!