855,674 Pounds of Food in One Year

State Street Food Drive 3
Interfaith Social Services’ Food Pantry van is fully loaded and unloaded with food at least twice each day by our dedicated staff and volunteers. This article explains where all of that food comes from.

From July 2014 to June 2015 Interfaith’s food pantry distributed 855,674 pounds of food to our community. These groceries fed hungry children, put food on the tables of struggling families and assisted many seniors trying to survive on a fixed income. So, where does almost one million pounds of food comes from? Let me tell you….

loading the van
John Martland and John Dunner, two of Interfaith’s incredible volunteers, loading up the pantry van with food from the Greater Boston Food Bank.

This past year Interfaith received 429,805 pounds of food from the Greater Boston Food Bank, 50% of the total distributed by our pantry. The Food Bank, located right off of I93 in Boston, is the region’s emergency food distributer. The food we receive from the Food Bank includes donations from The Federal Government, food purchased by The State of Massachusetts and donations from businesses. Interfaith pays the food bank a shared maintenance fee, per pound, for all of the food we collect which was donated to them businesses and other vendors. We pay this fee because the Food Bank needs to transport and store all of that food until it can be distributed to organizations like us. That is why the majority of Interfaith’s annual food budget is paid to The Food Bank.

5% of Interfaith’s food pantry groceries, 35,016 pounds, come from community donations = school food drives, ingatherings from houses of worship, etc. We are so grateful for the generosity that our community shows each year by making these donations. It is heartwarming to see so many people walk into our offices with donated bags of groceries to help feed their neighbors in need. We admire all of those parents who bring their children with them and use the donation as a teaching opportunity.

shopping cart
In 2015 the largest contributor of salvage food to Interfaith’s food pantry was Hannaford Supermarket in Quincy. They donated 116,863 pounds of food to hungry local families.

Ever wonder what happens to your supermarket’s leftover rotisserie chickens at the end of day? How about the day old bread, baked goods, cheese, sandwiches, etc. ? Hopefully, those products are being donated to an emergency food program like Interfaith’s food pantry. This year supermarkets and restaurants donated 385,250 pounds of food to Interfaith Social Services; 45% of the food distributed by our pantry last year came from these community partners. These products are called “salvage” food because if it weren’t for Interfaith’s intervention they would have been headed to the landfill or the compost facility. Our team of staff and volunteers package, transport, sort, bag and distribute this perfectly good food to our pantry clients. We like to view this process as more of a food rescue mission than a salvage mission.

The supermarkets’ cooperation in this food rescue program is incredible. They don’t want to see the food go to waste any more than we do. The managers from these stores are truly committed to feeding the hungry and we applaud their efforts. So, the next time you are in your local supermarket ask a manager what food pantry their store partners with and thank them for their efforts.

stop and shop donation
The second largest donor of salvage food was Stop and Shop Supermarket on Newport Ave. in Quincy. They donated 93,775 pounds of food to Interfaith’s food pantry. In this photo volunteer John Dunner accepts a donation from a Stop and Shop employee.

The majority of our food comes from the Food Bank, our community and local supermarkets. However, one problem with these food sources is that we have very little control over what is donated. Over the past few years we have made an increased effort to distribute more fruits and vegetables to our clients. Last year we purchased 5,603 pounds of produce from a local produce wholesaler. We expect that number to increase this year, but it is expensive. We constantly encourage donations of fresh produce from the community. That is why we organize the Harvest Helpers program each spring and summer with our partner Keohane Funeral homes. The program encourages people to grow vegetables in their gardens and then donate it to local food pantries.

Helping client to thier car
Volunteer Mary Dinneen helping one of Interfaith’s food pantry clients load up her car with groceries. Interfaith’s food pantry is one of the largest in Greater Boston serving over 7,000 households from the South Shore last year.

Distributing 855,674 pounds of food in one year is an incredible accomplishment; however, it wouldn’t have been possible without all of our donors and volunteers. Last year 866 people volunteered within Interfaith’s various programs. They gave 23,990 hours of service assisting clients, answering phones, sorting clothes, helping customers, organizing fundraisers and more. They are the heroes in this story; donors who freely give of their time and money make it possible for Interfaith to fulfill its mission.

Now you know where all of Interfaith’s food comes from, you know the facts behind the distribution of 855,674 pounds of food in one year. However, we encourage you will look beyond those numbers because they signify a lot more than just pounds of food to us. They are meals for hungry families. They represent hope and peace of mind for individuals living in some difficult situations. Remember, they aren’t just “volunteers” do all of this work; they are amazing people like John Dunner, Charlene Manning and others. The faces behind each number here at Interfaith are the motivation for everything that we do.

Food Salvage Stats FY2015


[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://interfaithsocialservices.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Staff-Rick.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]This article was written by Rick Doane. Rick is the Executive Director of Interfaith Social Services. He is a South Shore native, pop culture enthusiast, family man and devout Mormon with a passion for serving those in need.[/author_info] [/author]

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