July 23, 2015

No matter how many food banks and production kitchens I get to visit in my job, I still expect to see an expansive assembly line for a program that is on track to produce a quarter of a million meals over the 10-week summer break. The assembly line at the Treasure Coast Food Bank in Ft. Pierce Florida could fit into your living room.

On the day I visited, the three crew members were putting together bagel pizzas. It’s one of their most popular items with the kids at their 32 feeding sites. Kids like the DIY aspect of assembling the components of the pizza into their own edible art.

The line operates continually through the summer, where staff and volunteers assemble a two week rotating menu of breakfasts, snacks, and lunches. The process is simple.

  1. The components are built and put into their proper compartments
  2. The trays are sealed
  3. The trays are put into coolers
  4. Repeat steps 1-3 5,000 times each day

Of course there’s a lot more to the summer feeding program than this, including community relationship building, household outreach and invoicing, coordinating activities with the kids and more. But as an operations guy I admire the tremendous impact Treasure Coast Food Bank is making from this modest space.

What’s most exciting is that the food bank is planning on expanding its production work into an even bigger operation. It hopes to expand its fight against food insecurity throughout the summer and all year round for to ensure that no child – or family – in the communities it serves ever faces the threat of hunger.  

 *Brady Koch is the director of program capacity, public policy and research at Feeding America.

Tags: Fighting Hunger in Action , Food Bank Network , Florida , Treasure Coast Food Bank

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