In the United States, more than 72 billion pounds of perfectly good, nutritious food is wasted each year. This is while 41 million Americans, more than 900,000 in New Jersey alone, go hungry every day. There’s enough food for everyone in our country, but it doesn’t always get to those who need it most.
That’s where the FoodBank’s supermarket gleaning program comes in, which picks up food from grocers that would otherwise be wasted and redirects it to our neighbors in need throughout the state. We rely on a fleet of trucks and tractor-trailers to pick up and deliver these and other donations every day, which represented 66% of the food that the FoodBank distributed last year.
In November 2018, one of our aging tractor-trailers broke down with no possibility of being repaired. The trailer was almost 25 years old and had logged more than 350,000 miles, hauling up to 44,000 pounds of food per trip. The loss of this critical piece of equipment presented a significant barrier to the FoodBank’s responsiveness to food donors and ability to deliver food to New Jerseyans who depend on us.
Fortunately, our partners at Columbia Bank Foundation were sensitive to this urgent need and stepped in to fund a brand new 53-foot refrigerated tractor-trailer–over $78,000—in full. In June, representatives from Columbia Bank and the Community FoodBank of New Jersey gathered together to celebrate the commissioning of the brand new trailer.
“For over 90 years, Columbia Bank has been supporting people and businesses in our communities, and when we heard that the FoodBank was in need and that they were going to have trouble fulfilling their mission, it was an easy decision on our part to step in and assist ,” said Joe Dempsey, EVP & Head of Commercial Banking at Columbia Bank, who also serves on the FoodBank’s Board of Directors.
With the help of this generous donation, the FoodBank will rescue close to 10 million pounds of fresh produce, meats, baked goods, and prepared foods through our gleaning program and will pick up and deliver millions more pounds of much-needed donated food.
“Columbia Bank’s responsiveness at a critical moment reflects their remarkable commitment to our mission,” said Carlos Rodriguez, President & CEO of the Community FoodBank of New Jersey. “With this new vehicle, we are confident that we will be able to collect and distribute even more food next year, including an increased percentage of fresh, healthy food as part of our focus on addressing hunger as a health issue.”
Columbia Bank also contributes to our events, including the Women Fighting Hunger Luncheon and our annual Blue Jean Ball, which was attended by Columbia Bank representatives this year. Company employees have also volunteered in our warehouse, helping to sort and pack some of the donations that the new truck has transported.
“The FoodBank is thankful for Columbia Bank’s year-long support and for the invaluable service that Joe Dempsey provides as one of our board members,” Carlos added.
Check out a video of our June celebration below.
For more information on how your company can get involved, please contact Debby Scheinholtz, Director of Corporate Relations, at 908-242-3951 or firstname.lastname@example.org.