At the end of the July, the Capital Area Food Bank hit a milestone. We moved into a new distribution center that is more than double the size of our old facility, in an effort to better meet the growing need in our community. With more space, multiple loading docks, and nearly endless freezer space, our staff is better equipped to provide nourishment for our neighbors.
While we celebrate our new space, we are equally realistic that we are facing a challenge. Economic pressures are causing businesses across the country to increase efficiencies and to reduce loss and waste. The recent drought is expected to lead to an increase in food prices nationwide, which will not only impact the families we serve, but also the ability of the Capital Area Food Bank to purchase enough food for the 680,000 residents in the Metro area that are risk of hunger.
Additionally, over the past several years, food banks across the country have experienced declines in The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) bonus commodity purchases. However, on Monday, August 13th, Secretary Vilsack announced a $170 million purchase of pork, chicken, lamb and catfish for federal food assistance programs, including food banks. The much needed protein items will be distributed to these providers across the country between now and June of 2013.
Just today, the Capital Area Food Bank put in our first request for nearly four tractor-trailers of pork products, with chicken offerings due soon. The announcement of additional bonus commodities is encouraging as we ease into our new space, but the reality is that hunger is on the rise.
Our recent transition to the new food distribution center and continued support from our government and the public will allow us to distribute larger quantity and higher quality of food ‘til no one is hungry.