On Monday, Feeding America and The Kresge Foundation publically announced a collaborative project to assist member food banks in the acquisition of much-needed refrigerated store donation trucks and refrigerated mobile food pantries to secure and distribute food to the nation's hungry populations. This announcement comes at a time when demand at local food banks across the nation is up 30 percent over the same period last year.
"Refrigerated trucks are a lifeline for food banks," said Vicki Escarra, president and CEO of Feeding America."This innovative program with Kresge will allow our food banks to gather donated perishable food from local retail donors. Mobile food pantries are then used to transport both dry goods and perishable food – meat, milk, and other dairy products, directly to those in need of emergency food – whether in remote and rural areas or in urban food deserts. We are proud to be a partner in Kresge's pioneering of this approach at a time when food banks across the country are urgently seeking more capacity to meet the needs of hungry Americans."
The Kresge Foundation is providing Feeding America with a five-year, $2.5 million program-related investment to capitalize a loan pool from which food banks can borrow for the purchase of trucks. Maximum loans to food banks will be $150,000 for a vehicle; Food banks can request support for up to two vehicles.
Additionally, Kresge is providing a grant for $2.5 million to provide initial operational costs for the trucks purchased, including driver salaries, fuel and maintenance. Food banks borrowing funds to purchase a new truck will receive a portion of the Kresge grant as a matching grant to cover operational expenses. For example, a food bank purchasing a $140,000 mobile pantry vehicle with a loan made available through this opportunity will receive a grant for $140,000 to provide for initial operating costs.
Funds for as many as 25 trucks and grants will be awarded in the first round of funding.
"This combination of a loan and a grant ensures that Feeding American will have maximum flexibility in meeting needs during these desperately difficult times," says Rip Rapson, president of The Kresge Foundation."We are pleased and honored to help this extraordinary network of food banks and mobile pantries do more of what they do best."
The Kresge truck program differs from other truck grants offered by Feeding America in that it gives the food bank greater control over what type of truck can be purchased. For example, most past truck programs did not include hybrid vehicles.
"We believe that this program's flexibility will encourage the acquisition of fuel efficient vehicles," said Escarra."This program will benefit food banks that may want to acquire trucks that can be used for both retail pick-up and serve as a mobile pantry."
The truck program also addresses sustainability with a focus on building a fundraising plan for both the capital cost and long-term support of the truck. This program is one of the first for The Kresge Foundation's new innovative capital fund designed to support strong non-profits through the strategic deployment of capital.
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Feeding America® is the largest hunger-relief organization in the United States. Through a network of 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries and meal programs, we provide meals to more than 46 million people each year. Feeding America also supports programs that prevent food waste and improve food security among the people we serve; educates the public about the problem of hunger; and advocates for legislation that protects people from going hungry. Individuals, charities, businesses and government all have a role in ending hunger. Donate. Volunteer. Advocate. Educate. Together we can solve hunger. Visit www.feedingamerica.org, find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.
The Kresge Foundation is a $2.8 billion private, national foundation, based in Troy, Michigan, that seeks to influence the quality of life for future generations through its support of nonprofit organizations in six fields: health, the environment, arts and culture, education, human services, and community development. Kresge works to create access and opportunity in underserved communities, improve the health of low-income people, support artistic expression, assist in the revitalization of Detroit, and advance methods for dealing with global climate change. In 2008, the foundation approved 342 grants totaling $181 million.