Food bank debuts new improvements to help feed the hungry

The Maryland Food Bank of the Eastern Shore officially cut the ribbon Thursday on some of its upgrades.  Those updates include new high-efficiency light bulbs, a new 2,400 square foot cold sort room and a new conveyor belt to make packaging and sorting easier and faster.

"We renovated the building to allow for more capacity, more access to fresh produce, better volunteer experience, and just increase efficiency," said food bank president Carmen Del Guercio.

"A big part of our responsibility is how are we going to prepare more food, how can we store it, prepare it and then also distribute it more effectively to more families.  And that's what these efforts will help us do," said food bank director Jennifer Small.

Efficiency is key in the food bank game.  The more time and money saved, the more food can be processed and delivered to the thousands of local residents unsure of where their next meal will come from.

"We're missing so many meals a year.  There's 42,000 eastern shore residents that are food insecure.  They do not know where their next meal is coming from," said Small.

In fiscal year 2017, the food bank moved over 6 million pounds of food, or just over 5 million meals.  With the new expedited process, that number could grow to 7.5 million meals.

And the improvements means more space for volunteers.

"Usually we had to shut down half the warehouse to be able to accommodate small groups of ten to fifteen individuals.  Now with a ten section conveyor, we can have a team of ten on the conveyor belt, we can put 40 to 50 volunteers now in the cold start room," said Small.

The hope is with all of these newest additions to the food bank, productivity will increase by 30 to 50 percent over the next three to five years. 

We're told the Food Bank of the Eastern Shore is in need of volunteers.

To put the importance of their volunteer work into perspective, one volunteer hour saves the food bank 26 dollars.  We're told for every one dollar they save, the food bank can provide three extra meals.

If you are looking for help, you can contact the Food Bank on the Eastern Shore at 410-742-0050 or click here.

Categories: Local News, Maryland