Retail Store Program of the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank

By some estimates, 72 billion pounds of perfectly edible, whole foods go to waste each year in the United States. With so many pounds thrown in the trash, it’s hard to comprehend that millions of people are also food insecure.

That is why the Retail Food Program was created. Feeding America and food banks across the country work with manufacturers, distributors, farms, grocery stores and restaurants to get this food to families and individuals in need.

This year, the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank has been able to rescue more than 1.5 million pounds of food in our 11-parish service area. The program works two ways – the food comes to the Food Bank from retail partners, is given to our agencies and is then distributed to individuals and families in need. Alternatively, agencies set up through a program called “meal connect” can go to our retail partners directly, pick up the food and then distribute it to their clients facing hunger (making it one step easier).

Agencies who are able to pick up food directly from a retailer, are often able to give the food to their clients at a much quicker pace. The Church Kingdom Men’s Shelter in Donaldsonville, an agency of the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank, is one of the agencies set up through Meal Connect. Barry, the program coordinator for the Men’s Shelter, said, “We have at least 70 men in our shelter, and let me tell you, it takes a huge burden off our food costs – especially when it comes to meats and vegetables. Because we are a nonprofit, we benefit tremendously from these groceries. It has been absolutely tremendous.”

Not only is it helpful for the agencies and the recipients of the food, but it also allows grocery stores and restaurants to reduce their waste disposal costs, receive tax benefits, increase staff morale and helps those in need directly in their community.

“I understand how this helps the agencies and in turn helps those who they serve,” Georgia, an employee of a local Walmart, said. “I am glad that we are able to give the food to people who need it. It makes me feel good. It makes me feel like I’m doing my job, my part.”

If you’d like to help with our retail store program, contact Danielle at (225)359-9940.