The Food Bank for Westchester acquires, warehouses and distributes food to local hunger-relief programs throughout Westchester.. The Food Bank
is the backbone of the county
emergency food-distribution network, providing
95% of the food distributed
by local hunger-relief member programs, including food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and child, senior and residential programs.
the 2005-06 fiscal year, the Food Bank
distributed 4.2 million pounds of food through
181 anti hunger programs. In 2010-11, the Food Bank distributed over 7 million pounds of food, the equivalent of over 5 million meals, to 227 hunger-relief programs, helping to feed some
or all of the 200,000 Westchester residents who
are hungry or at risk of hunger.
The following are under the umbrella of the Food Bank for Westchester's Emergency
Food Distribution program:
The Food Bank for Westchester receives food
for distribution through three streams:
a third of all the food distributed by the
Food Bank is donated. The Food Bank for
Westchester receives the majority of its donated
food through Feeding America, the national food bank network, which solicits food on behalf of its member programs. There are approximately 200 food banks throughout the country, including the Food Bank for Westchester. Feeding America then allocates the donated food to its members based
on a poverty/population formula in each food bank's service area. Recently Feeding America
changed the food allocation system to a bidding
system, which is still being evaluated.
Bank for Westchester also solicits food donations from withn its
service area, which is Westchester County. About 300,000
pounds annually comes from local sources such
as food drives, the prepared and perishable Food Recovery Program and the very
few distributors in the county.
The Food Bank must provide the
transportation to bring the donated food from
whereever it originated to our Westchester warehouse. Food donated from within the county is picked up with a Food Bank
truck. Donations from out of the county, including those from out-of-state, must be transported by a commercial carrier. These transportation
costs are borne by the Food Bank for Westchester.
The Food Bank for Westchester distributes the
donated food at the Shared Maintenance Fee of 10 cents per pound.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
purchases surplus food and converts it into shelf-stable products to be used by government institutions
like prisons and school lunch programs. A small
percentage of this food is designated for Food
Pantry/Soup Kitchen use.
In New York State, the state portion of the USDA
food for Food Pantries and Soup Kitchens is distributed
through the New York State Office of General
Services, which in turn allocates the entire
allotment to the eight food banks in the state
to distribute to qualified hunger-relief programs
within their service area. The amount and variety
of product available through this source varies
from year to year.
Because the USDA foods also have administrative
reimbursement attached to the pound allocation,
the food banks in the state do not have to charge
a shared maintenance fee.
Food Bank for Westchester purchases food with
donated dollars in truckload quantities
to make sure that there is always sufficient
food in the five food groups available for
distribution. Because the Food Bank is significantly
dependant on Feeding America for donated food and there is
almost nothing in Westchester from which to raise
additional donated food, purchasing is a necessity.
The Food Bank shops for product all across the
country, seeking to get the best product for
the lowest price. The cost of the purchased food
is passed on the member agencies. The price is
always below current wholesale prices, allowing
member agencies to significantly stretch their
In the last fiscal year, 2010-11, the Food
Bank for Westchester distributed over 7 million pounds
The Food Bank for Westchester provides technical
support and education services to member agencies
and their clients.
Technical assistance to programs consists of
food safety /nutrition education and organizational/
management skills. The Food Bank also conducts
a physical site inspection of each member program
to assure compliance with all federal, state
and local regulations governing food safety,
sanitation, distribution, record keeping etc.
The Food Bank for Westchester conducts food safety
and nutrition-education classes for member programs and
their staff and clients. Clients also enjoy food
tastings, cooking demonstrations and health specific