River Bend CEO Michael Miller has confirmed the opening of a new food pantry at South Park Mall in Moline, Illinois. Scheduled for an official opening this Saturday, the food pantry's mission is to help distribute surplus food sourced from a federal trade mitigation program.
The new food pantry will distribute food received from The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) as well as other food items collected from the Davenport-based food bank.
River Bend Food Bank has an excellent food distribution chain, and the new ventures are being undertaken to cater to the increasing hunger within the community.
The TEFAP was launched in September by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as part of a trade mitigation package in order to support farmers who were affected by the trade dispute and new tariffs on farm products. The administration spent $500-million for the purchase of foods such as pork, milk, rice, beans, apples and oranges from the farmers.
Miller said that the South Park pantry could be temporary for the sake of dealing with the trade mitigation surplus situation. It will become permanent if found to be helpful to the community.
The food pantry is not going to compete with community partners across eastern Iowa and western Illinois. Instead, the food bank is trying to free up storage space and strike a balance between pantries that cannot handle surplus shipment and those which want double shipments.
The distribution of perishable items is of primary concern for the food bank since they need to ship the food items as quickly as possible.
Each state administers its TEFAP, and the River Bend has witnessed larger volumes of food coming in from Illinois, where the Department of Human Services is in charge of placing orders. On the other hand, the Iowa Foodbank is responsible for ordering on behalf of the state of Iowa and has done an efficient job, thus making the supply volume more manageable.
The new pantry in Moline is dedicated to serving residents of Illinois and Iowa and will help anyone who shows up. The only exception to the rule is that Iowa residents will not be entitled to receiving Illinois TEFAP surplus items.
The goal of the River Bend is to provide 20.6 million meals by the year 2025. As of 2018, the food bank offers 15.1 million meals. Miller said that it has been possible because of the support and backing he received from so many people.
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