Tri-State Food Bank doubling impact with $195,000 grant

November 1, 2020 | 12:10 am

Updated November 1, 2020 | 5:44 am

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As Tri-State Food Bank continues to witness surging demand for emergency food assistance, a new funding opportunity will expand the nonprofit’s work in regional communities.  

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield will provide $195,000 to Tri-State through a three-year partnership. This will fund an additional 65 mobile food distributions, including 25 events in Kentucky counties, during the next year — Tri-State offered about 50 food mobile food distributions last year. 

“Mobile food distributions are such an important and efficient way to get food where it’s needed,” said Glenn Roberts, executive director of Tri-State Food Bank. “It’s going to more than double our program.” 

The food bank targets impoverished communities, healthy food deserts and vulnerable populations — including children and senior citizens — for distribution events. After identifying an ideal location, the food bank partners with local agencies to set up a site, load a semi-truck and distribute dry goods and fresh produce, when available, to qualifying individuals and families.  

Since March, Tri-State has recorded about a 35-percent increase in demand for food bank Services.

“The need has never been this high,” Roberts said. “It looks like it’s going to continue until this pandemic is over.” 

The pandemic never caused food shortages, excluding an initial dearth of commodities like pasta and canned soup during the early grocery raids. But it did cause a scarcity of volunteers, who are frequently retired citizens in the 60-plus age group. In Evansville, the Indiana National Guard even stepped in to help with food distribution events.

“Where we did have a crisis was losing our volunteers,” Roberts said. “Ten percent of our agencies had to shut down at the beginning of the pandemic.” 

Since implementing changes to the food delivery systems — they now place pre-packed food boxes directly into the trunk or backseat of folks’ cars to avoid contact — volunteers returned, and agencies recovered.

For this new undertaking, Tri-State has already ordered new trucks and hired additional staff and drivers.

November 1, 2020 | 12:10 am

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