Food Bank of Alaska helps neighbors feed neighbors
Sometimes people think that Food Bank of Alaska is a pantry that feeds hungry people directly. We are not. Instead, our programs make it possible for our 150+ partner food pantries and soup kitchens all over Alaska to feed their hungry neighbors.
Donated Food Program
Food Bank of Alaska is a busy warehouse, deploying a fleet of trucks to recover surplus food that would otherwise be disposed of by food industry partners – grocery stores, wholesalers, producers, farmers, and the fishing business. We also collect food donated by community members, and we purchase food in bulk. We then redistribute this food to pantries and meal programs – about 40 partner agencies in the greater Anchorage and Mat-Su service area – who make it available to children, families, and seniors in their neighborhoods.
Mobile Food Pantry
When Food Bank of Alaska receives donated perishable food such as fruits and vegetables, it is often close to the end of its life. Our Mobile Food Pantry distributes this fresh food to families in need while it’s still good. Families especially appreciate having the healthy produce and dairy products that they often can’t afford at the store. Food Bank of Alaska works with ten sponsoring agencies that conduct Mobile Food Pantries at nine convenient locations around Anchorage. We have distributed 3,414,888 pounds of food through our MFPs so far this fiscal year. This is a 1,772,765-pound (108%) increase over last year.
Summer Food Service Program
The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) is a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Child Nutrition Program established to ensure that low-income children, ages 18 and younger, continue to receive nutritious meals when school is not in session. Most recent figures show that of approximately 36,000 Alaskan children eligible for free or reduced-price school meals, 4,000 took part in SFSP. SFSP in Alaska is administered by the State of Alaska Department of Education & Early Development.
SFSP provides free, nutritious meals at approved programs in areas with significant concentrations of low-income children. Programs are provided by schools, private non-profits and local or tribal governments. Each year Food Bank of Alaska is the sponsor for approximately 40 sites, almost all of them rural. In 2019, Food Bank of Alaska provided 84,000 meals to children through these programs. As the sponsor, Food Bank of Alaska fulfills administrative requirements such as training, paperwork, recordkeeping, site monitoring, meal ordering and shipping, allowing the sites to focus on feeding children in need within their communities. An average meal consists of one milk, two fruits or vegetables, one grain, one meat, and an alternate such as seed butter.
The Emergency Food Assistance Program
Food Bank of Alaska helps 56 partners, 44 of them in rural Alaska, feed their hungry neighbors through The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). TEFAP is a commodity program administered through the State of Alaska Department of Education & Early Development. To support farmers and other producers, the U.S. government buys up surplus food. For example, the government recently purchased surplus Alaska salmon. Instead of throwing this food away, the USDA distributes it to states for schools, soup kitchens, and food pantries. The State of Alaska contracts with Food Bank of Alaska to distribute TEFAP commodities to food pantries across the state. The TEFAP distribution in Alaska is based on the proportion of low income residents and persons on unemployment.
Senior Boxes – Commodity Supplemental Food Program
The Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) is a US Department of Agriculture (USDA) program designed to supplement the nutrition of seniors in need. Food Bank of Alaska coordinates distribution of monthly CSFP boxes to eligible clients through a network of partner agencies. Contents of the boxes follow state-approved meal plans consisting of grains, proteins, milk, cheese, fruits and vegetables. In FY19, Food Bank of Alaska distributed 24,606 boxes with the help of our partner agencies. The State of Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, Division of Public Assistance, Family Nutrition Programs, is responsible for administering CSFP.
Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program
The Alaska Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (June 1st – October 31st) provides coupons to low-income seniors that can be exchanged for fresh Alaska-grown fruits, vegetables, fresh-cut herbs and honey at farmer’s markets, approved farms and roadside sides.