How Fredericksburg Regional Food Bank Works

Where does the food come from?


86% Donated Food Most of our food is donated through food rescue, local businesses, community food drives, and individuals. 7% Purchased Food To supplement donations and meet the nutritional needs of those we serve, we leverage national and local relationships to purchase food at the lowest possible price. 7% Government Commodities We receive some of our food through federal programs that are overseen by the United States Department of Agriculture.




What does Food Rescue mean?


The Fredericksburg Regional Food Bank rescues safe, surplus food from going to waste so that it can instead help nourish those struggling with hunger. Retail grocers, farmers, producers, distributors, and foodservice operators donate food that is not profitable to sell, close-dated, overstock, seasonal, or cosmetically damaged. We rescue more than 1,600 tons of food a year that would otherwise go into landfills!




Where does the food go?


84% Partner Agency Distribution Most of our food is distributed through a network of more than # local non-profit organizations. 16% Community Distribution We also provide food directly to families, seniors, and other individuals in need through our mobile pantries, onsite programs, and direct service programs.




Where does the funding come from?


The Fredericksburg Regional Food Bank recieves donations from individuals, local business, corporations, foundations and grants.




What is the difference between a Food Bank and a Food Pantry?


Many communities have a local "food pantry", sometimes mistakenly called a "food bank". Most of these community food pantries are sponsored by local area churches and/or community coalitions. A community food pantry's mission is to "directly" serve local residents who suffer from hunger and food insecurity within a specified area. Independent community food pantries are self-governing and usually distribute food to their clients on a once-a-month basis. A food bank is the food hub for millions of pounds of food and other products that go out to the community. A food pantry functions as the arms that reach out to that community directly. The Fredericksburg Regional Food Bank's mission is to "create a hunger free community" by providing food to these food pantries for distribution into their respective local communities. The Food Bank's daily operation consists of sourcing and gathering food, sorting and cataloging the food, then warehousing the inventory to be distributed to our ove70 partner agencies throughout our six county service area. Food banks and food pantries - they are not the same. But they share the same commitment. At the Fredericksburg Regional Food Bank we are proud of our partnership with food pantries - and many other organizations - who act with us on the belief that nobody should ever go hungry.




What is a Food Bank?


There are many misconceptions about what the food bank actually is. Some think it is merely another pantry serving the public, similar to a soup kitchen or shelter where individuals go to seek help. The fact is we are not a pantry or soup kitchen or shelter. We are in fact the charity that PROVIDES the food to the pantries, soup kitchens, and shelters. We collect donated product and store it in our 30,000 square foot facility. Most “pantries” do not have the space to store a truckload of potatoes, cereal, eggs, etc. As an affiliate of Feeding America (formerly America’s Second Harvest), we receive truckloads of donated product. We receive the product, unload, inventory, place on availability lists to our partner agencies & program partners in Planning District 16 (the counties of Caroline, Spotsylvania, King George, Stafford and the City of Fredericksburg) as well as neighboring communities we service, and distribute the product according to the need and desire from each member charity. With an 8,000 cubic feet of freezer and cooler space, we are able to accept larger donations than your local church pantry may be able to accommodate. Most local pantries have only a home-sized freezer and refrigerator. Without the food bank, these donations would most likely be turned down, thus giving the product to another region of the state. Our ability to accept frozen and refrigerated products allows us to offer a better variety of nutritious foods to the pantries and soup kitchens in our service area.




What Is Food Insecurity?


Food insecurity is defined as not having reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food.




Does the Food Bank charge for the food it distributes?


Most importantly, the person in need receiving food is never charged a fee. 78% of the food that the Fredericksburg Regional Food Bank distributes to its network partners is completely free. 20% of the food that the Fredericksburg Regional Food Bank distributes to its network partners includes a small "shared maintance fee" that ranges from $0.05 to $0.19 per pound, which is consisten with other food banks in the country. 2% of the food that the Fredericksburg Regional Food Bank distributes to its network partners is part of the Purchase Program, that goes out at cost.




What is a Shared Maintenance Fee?


A shared maintenance fee is a small handling fee in return for services provided (e.g. operations of warehousing and distribution of donated food and products). This small fee defrays a portion of the costs associated with transporting, receiving, storing and distributing dry, refrigerated and frozen goods. The shared maintenance fee is not a charge for food, but it is assessed by pounds of food received and is never more than $0.19 per pound.




How does the Food Bank's Purchase Program work?


The Fredericksburg Regional Food Bank is able to negotiate the best prices on items that are not typically donated due to the volume we purchase on behalf of our network partners and programs. The items in our Purchase Program go out to our network at cost. Items vary from time to time, based upon availability and price, but might include things such as: peanut butter, shelf stable milk, and fruit cups. Historical data drives our food purchases based upon demand from our partner agencies; program needs; opportunity buys and seasonal needs.