How Does a Food Bank Get its Food?

As an individual citizen, perhaps you have recently tried to donate food to a food bank. You most likely learned that your monetary donation will be graciously accepted,. With the pandemic now creating far larger populations facing food insecurity than have been seen in nearly a century, food banks are looking to commercial food businesses that are able to provide ready-to-eat food.

One local example is Choicelunch, a Danville-based company that delivered boxed lunches to 300 schools across California prior to Covid-19. Now they’re working in partnership with the Alameda County Food Bank, delivering 5000 meal kits weekly. The need is growing quickly as food banks have fewer volunteers and more difficulty securing food. Choicelunch COO Keith Cosbey explains how the partnership works:

Q: How does the Food Bank get its food?

A: The food bank typically accepts donations and buys food. However, due to Covid-19, they do not accept individual donations, only donations from commercial or retail food businesses and the food industry. Individuals today are asked to make monetary donations instead of food donations.

Q: What items are in the boxes?

A: Protein (peanut butter or canned tuna), canned veggies (corn, green beans or mixed veggies), canned fruit (peaches, pears or pineapple), juice [cranberry (most common), apple or orange], canned soup (tomato or chicken noodle) and pasta (e.g. spaghetti, macaroni noodles, orzo—this is the one that varies the most).

Q: Why did Choicelunch decide to partner with the Alameda Food Bank?

A: Primarily because there was an increased need. Before school closures, we used to prepare over 25,000 lunches per day. Logistically, it was not difficult to transfer our expertise and skills to meet the food bank’s increased needs.

Q: Who are these boxes going to feed?

A: The Alameda Food Bank serves families depending on school meals for their children, low-income workers losing hours, or even jobs, and vulnerable seniors relying on groceries. They have seen a surge in need—from 330,000 people already experiencing hunger and thousands more who have not yet needed their services.

Looking for ways to be of service with solutions to local food insecurity? Visit Edible East Bay’s #SUPPORTLOCAL Resources.