Originally posted to LinkedIn by Co-Founder John Botti
There is a stark juxtaposition of American farmers having their vegetable crops go to waste due to supply chain disruption and economic collapse, while other Americans are on the brink of starvation due to food banks being overwhelmed and undersupplied.
Farms to Food Banks Mission
Helping farmers by purchasing wasting food and delivering to people in immediate need.
Proof of Concept Executed
A group of eight friends mobilized a bootstrapped effort, Farms to Food Banks. The idea was conceived on April 14th and our South Bronx community non-profit partner, East Side House Settlement, distributed food for 800 families two weeks later on April 29th.
In two weeks,
- We purchased 43,000 pounds of potatoes at “equitable pricing” to support Cranney Farms in Idaho, who already donated over 2 million potatoes to those in need
- A refrigerated truck, gas and driver’s wages were 100% donated by SOAR Transportation
- US Army Veteran Dave Lemon drove the haul from Idaho to the South Bronx
- Zaro’s Family Bakery donated their loading dock, sorting machinery and staging area
- East Side House staff and volunteers broke down 23 pallets of 50lb boxes into family size bags
- Non-perishable staple foods were wholesale purchased to complete the family boxes
- Successful East Side House distribution to 800 families on the first distribution day
- Another 1,700 family boxes are prepared for imminent distribution
Our Next Steps
We have improved our systems and processes for our next trailers of food. We purchased 44,000lbs of American farmed long grain par-boiled white rice, black beans and pinto beans. We are having them packaged in family sizes units at an outsourced packing facility, which will make our back end distribution more efficient next week. We have also identified several upstate NY farmers and produce packers for onions, potatoes, apples, cabbage, and cheese. The last remaining egg farmer in Sullivan County NY has lost his restaurant supply chain and is giving eggs away to locals. Once we solve some logistics, we will buy his eggs to help keep him in business and his hens alive. There are many more farmers and fresh produce sourcing opportunities.
Our Opportunities to Scale
Our team has identified partners to help scale and accelerate our impact. Daniel Diaz and East Side House are working hard on increasing our ability to reach more families in need. We are concurrently exploring ways to expand our current logistics and capabilities to impact the ESH communities in the South Bronx, while aligning with key strategic partners who share a similar mission, so that we can help ESH as well as more areas of need in NYC. There is also a great need to scale nationally. Our potential partners could rapidly accelerate that effort. We can help more people by working together. We can also serve as a model for others to work together and provide solutions. Much more to come…
The response from the public has been incredible
- $8,650 in founding donations to launch the initiative
- $5,000 seed grant from the Rotary Club of New York
- $225,000 from over 2,000 GoFundMe donors
In total, over $238,000 raised in less than two weeks.
Donated Resources include:
- Three refrigerated tractor trailers, truck drivers and fuel – all costs 100% donated by SOAR Transportation Group
- 2,000 donated PPE masks and gloves shipped to South Bronx volunteers and families
- 1,200 16-oz bottles of Miami Strong hand sanitizer donated by Miami Club Rum with shipping from Miami to NY donated by LJ Duffy Contract Furniture
- Three U-Haul rental trucks for local distribution donated by high school students from Fordham Prep’s Build the Bronx Club
- RxR Realty donated additional storage space with box truck loading dock access
- Dozens of East Side House Settlement staff and volunteers mobilized to sort, pack and distribute
We would like to thank the thousands who have helped make this happen from donors, to community partners, to volunteers, to farmers and friends. We did this together!