Walmart may be the world’s largest grocer, but in Central and Eastern Kentucky, the company is also one of the largest food donors to God’s Pantry Food Bank. Every Walmart store in the 50 counties served by the Food Bank works with us to save food that has reached its “sell by” date, but may still be healthy and usable by clients that visits food pantries, soup kitchens, and similar programs nearby.
Beyond the fabulous food, God’s Pantry Food Bank has been the fortunate recipient of multiple grants from Walmart that supports our efforts to pick up food from stores 5 days a week, funding the salary of our Retail Store Donation Coordinator, and helping with produce purchased by the Food Bank. Our most recent grant will allow the Food Bank to purchase equipment to ensure partner agencies making store donation pick-ups have proper equipment to keep the food safe and cool until neighbors in need can put it on their tables.
Fred Klatka, pantry coordinator for Hope Inc. in Pikeville said produce is particularly appreciated.
“From Walmart 2-3 times a week there’s considerable produce,” he said. “It’s dead ripe so we have to give it out within a day or so; bananas, grapes, citrus, apples, lettuce, those are the main things. People just line up real fast on those, that’s for sure.”
Walmart isn’t the only grocer donating food; Aldi, Kroger, Target, and others, are doing the same and getting more fresh produce and high-quality dairy and meat products into the hands of our hungry neighbors.
This takes a lot of planning on the part of store personnel and our staff, but the results are worth it. In FY 2016, God’s Pantry Food Bank distributed 29.8 million pounds of food. Nearly 6 million of those pounds came to us from the previous mentioned grocers. That’s enough for 5 million meals.