How BEAM Tackles Food Insecurity

How BEAM Tackles Food Insecurity

Did you know the BEAM Food Bank picks up, sorts and distributes between 50,000 to 58,000 meals every month?

The BEAM Food Bank has two full-time employees and 36 volunteers who make this possible. Volunteer roles range from driving trucks, helping to load grocery store donated items, sorting and delivering goods to BEAM’s pantries and partner agencies.

There are multiple ways BEAM receives food donations:

  • Recovery of unsellable food from 11 Feeding America/Feeding Northeast Florida retail partners

  • Food drives organized by individuals, businesses, community groups and faith-based organizations

  • Barrels stationed in local grocery stores, churches and businesses

  • Feeding Northeast Florida food bank

  • Locally grown produce from BEAM’s Grace Garden

Did you know BEAM’s two food pantries distribute more than 100 jars of peanut butter and 100 jars of pasta sauce every week?

Since we salvage food that would otherwise be thrown away, it is difficult to anticipate what recovered food we will receive from each grocery store pickup. We typically receive more perishable items such as meat, bread, produce and dairy products than nonperishable items such as canned meats/vegetables, cereal, and grains. The quantity and quality of these items are unknown until pickup. This is why, at times, the food pantries can run low on non-perishable items such as canned meats, peanut butter, pasta sauce, and grains.

Once donated food is collected by the BEAM Food Bank, quality and safety are the highest priorities. Trained volunteers and staff quality control, sort and organize into categories, and food is redistributed within 48 hours of receiving.

In addition to food, we also distribute hygiene items to clients and partners as many personal items (such as soap and toilet paper) are not covered by SNAP benefits aka food stamps.

How you can help:

  • Host a food drive—items we are currently in need of include: peanut butter, pasta sauce, canned meats, toilet paper, razors and shampoo

  • Volunteer once a week to assist with food pickup—must be able to lift 50 lbs. and available weekday mornings

  • Donate Thanksgiving basket items for the holidays

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