As we are in the midst of our canned food drive to benefit the New Hampshire Food Bank, I thought it would be helpful to bring some students down to the Food Bank for them to get a sense of who we are supporting.
The Food Bank is located here in Manchester and is housed in a 50,000+ square foot facility. They have 24 full-time employees and rely heavily on volunteers to do the bulk of the work there. They are also 100% dependent on donations of money and food to stay alive. They essentially provide food to the 415 food pantries in the state and only charge them 18 cents a pound for the food. The food that comes in is sorted into boxes by category and then stored in a giant warehouse. They also have an enormous walk-in cooler and freezer to store perishable items. Food pantries can order their food on-line and the workers set up all the boxes for them and either deliver them or the pantries pick them up.
In addition to providing food, the Food Bank has a professional kitchen and chef to help train folks who are looking to get into the food service industry yet lack the necessary skills (be they cooking, job skills, interpersonal skills, etc). They also maintain a 1 acre farm where they are able to get fresh produce to provide to their clients.
I hope the experience was an eye-opener for the kids, especially the statistic that 150,000 or so New Hampshire residents are food insecure, that's about 10% of the state's population. The Food Bank said it does what it can and it's goal is to put itself out of business!
The students who joined me were:
Kasie Bourque '14
Byrne Cronin '14
Jon Cullity '13
Bryan Dufour '14
Erica Fowler '13
Richie McCauley '13
Michael Toomey '14
Next Tuesday I am taking a group of students to New Horizons for a similar tour as they are the beneficiary of our Cardboard City event which will be October 13/14.