In 1989, IFFS co-founders Jill Staton Bullard and Maxine Solomon began recovering good food from local restaurants and grocery stores in the back of station wagons. Flash forward to an IFFS fleet of 10 refrigerated, commercial trucks that rescued 6.5 million pounds of food in 2014. Of that food, 40% was fresh produce.
Our fleet of trucks drives our core mission of ending hunger in the Greater Triangle. (Literally!) Without appropriate transportation, IFFS could not rescue and deliver fresh, healthy food to feed over 57,000 people every month. In 2015 a $50,000 Retail Store Donation Infrastructure grant, thanks to the Walmart Foundation and Feeding America, gave our fleet a much-needed upgrade!
Here’s how the upgrade is helping feed those in need with healthy food:
1. Meeting Safe Food Standards:
Thanks to the grant, two trucks in our fleet received new refrigeration units! It is essential that our trucks maintain food-safe temperatures – especially during the hot summer months when the outdoor temperature in our seven-county service area sits above 90° Fahrenheit. IFFS used the grant to purchase and install two new refrigeration units, replacing the old units which were less efficient. The new equipment will keep food at safe temperatures while also consuming less fuel (an added bonus!).
2. Rescuing More Food:
Trucks with new refrigeration units will be able to rescue more food this summer! That’s because previous heat waves forced IFFS to end recovery routes early (to ensure the food collected would stay a safe temperature). The new refrigeration units will be able to keep rescued food safe for the entire planned route.
The new refrigeration units have significantly lower maintenance costs than older units, as well as better fuel efficiency. The new units will provide us with cost-savings, which we can then invest in growing our retail food donation program. Additionally, the grant funded the purchase of 10 sets of plastic refrigeration curtains – one set for each truck in our fleet. These insulation curtains will reduce the strain on all our cooling units, further reducing maintenance costs and also extending the life of all units in our fleet.
...But the Retail Store Donation Infrastructure grant, thanks to the Walmart Foundation and Feeding America, goes beyond new equipment.
Here’s a look by-the-numbers at just how far the positive impact reaches:
35 - routes now recover and distribute food with better efficiency in a given week
20 - Drivers and Driver Assistants now have more reliable schedules
35 - recipient agencies now receive food donations delivered more efficiently by an upgraded IFFS trucks
7,600 - miles covered by IFFS trucks in a given month – NOW with reduced maintenance needs
23,801 - people fed in a given month with food delivered via upgraded IFFS trucks
455,782 - pounds of food recovered by IFFS trucks in a given month - kept at safe temperatures by new equipment
Inter-Faith Food Shuttle is excited to head into 2016 with a truck fleet that is more efficient, reliable, and equipped to keep food safe!
By Lindsay Humbert, IFFS Digital Media Specialist. Contact: Lindsay@FoodShuttle.org