13.7 million, or 10.5% of households in America, experienced some level of food insecurity in 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused this number to rise. How can you help your community?
Keep reading to learn about mobile food pantries and how they can transform your neighborhood.
How Does a Mobile Food Pantry Work?
Mobile pantries use food trucks, catering vehicles, or refrigerated delivery trucks to distribute food and meals to people living with food insecurity. Turning to mobile food pantries has many benefits. You can assist your community, reduce food waste, and make getting healthful food more accessible.
Cut Down on Food Waste
Restaurants, grocery stores, farms, retailers, and everyday people contribute to 40 million tons of food waste in America each year. This is a result of misunderstanding food expiration dates, impulsive purchases, tossing leftovers, and so on. So, how can a mobile food pantry help?
Restaurants like Panera Bread, Olive Garden, and Starbucks, donate leftover food at the end of the business day to food banks. Similarly, farms, grocery stores, and other establishments give perishable goods that didn’t sell but are still safe to eat.
Deliver Fresh, Refrigerated or Frozen Food
People living with food insecurity often do not have access to fresh, nutritious food. Mobile food pantries can deliver fresh, refrigerated, or frozen foods. This can help expand offerings like fruit, vegetables, proteins (chicken, beef, pork, etc.), and dairy products. Instead of having to rely largely on shelf-stable offerings at food pantries, people will have easy access to healthy meals and fresh ingredients.
Safe Drop Off
As we are still in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, going inside a food bank may not be the safest option. With a mobile food pantry truck, you can make deliveries contact-free. Simply drop off bags or boxes on doorsteps, eliminating the need for face-to-face interaction.
Small communities may not even have their own food banks. This means residents may have to go to a neighboring town. However, there are quite a few limitations that bar people from going to food pantries.
Some issues are lack of transportation, secure housing, or childcare. Food pantries often operate a few days a week or on a 9-5 type of schedule; this means people who work, take care of others, or go to school, may not be able to visit one before closing time. Accessibility poses a significant problem for disabled people as well.
There is, unfortunately, also a great deal of stigma attached to poverty and need assistance. Many are too ashamed to use sources like SNAP or EBT as well as other public assistance programs like food banks. Mobile pantries can help alleviate food insecurity and reach people who may feel embarrassed asking for help.
A Modern Solution
Mobile food pantries are designed to assist underserved communities and reach people that need it. It breaks down the barriers that prevent families, students, the elderly, and disabled people from getting healthy food. It can also help cut down on food waste and the high costs associated with it.
Want to learn more about how to get started? Check out the resources on our blog or get a quote for a truck to help build your mobile food pantry program.