The importance of food banks and their positive impact is no secret in the food and beverage industry. Like restaurants, school kitchens, convenience stores, and commercial kitchens, food banks dedicate many resources to preventing food waste yearly. The difference in a food bank is those wasted foods were intended for the people who needed it the most.
Millions of Americans struggle to pay for groceries every week. Food insecurity is a major issue in the United States, and many charitable organizations exist for the sole purpose of combating it. They happily take perishable foods when they have the capacity to receive, store, and distribute them, but that isn't always as easy as it sounds.
Why Donate Perishable Food?
A food bank’s consistent and well-stocked perishable food donation program plays a crucial role in the fight against hunger in the United States. But just as significantly, it improves the well-being of its local communities as a whole.
Income-restrained households and the food insecure strive to keep healthy fruits, vegetables, and meats in their meal rotations more than any other food type. That's why, every year, approximately nine million children receive donated perishable and non-perishable food. Donating perishables to local food bank programs provide the most sought-after types of groceries directly to people facing hunger. If there is more convincing needed, then here are a few more benefits of donating perishable foods:
- Decreased size of landfills full of food waste
- Less plastic bags and garbage in the community
- Reduced trash management and dumpster fees
Tips to Keep Food Bank Perishables Safe
Believe it or not, food banks can quickly master long-term cold storage for fruits, vegetables, and other easily ruined items. With a well-planned donation program and the proper refrigeration solutions, food bank operators easily keep perishables longer than they otherwise might.
Taking the required safety techniques extends inventory shelf life so that perishable donations last longer and feed more people. Consider these helpful donating tips from Thermo-Kool’s highly skilled refrigeration team:
Quick distribution: Expedited distribution of perishable items isn’t a choice. It’s crucial. Be sure to stay on schedule to minimize the time in storage and reduce the risk of spoilage.
Proper labeling and rotation: A priority for food banks is to label and date all perishable donations. The process begins with documenting the perishables’ received-by dates and follows a first-in, first-out (FIFO) rotation. These steps make sure the oldest edibles are shipped first. Check those dates!
Food safety training: Staff and volunteers must be highly trained in food safety at food banks. Remember to provide food safety training to ensure that perishable items are handled safely and with care.
Regular monitoring: Too many tasks are part of life in food banks, and prioritizing consistent monitoring of walk-in temperatures isn’t easy. Hundreds of cubic feet of perishable inventory can be lost when temperatures exceed the required degrees. More importantly, many people risk facing the days ahead with hunger pains.
Safeguard Food Quality with a Walk-In Monitor System
Billions of people visit food banks, and the quality of the perishables on the shelves of a walk-in cooler is always top of mind for staff. It has to be. Tons of food is donated daily and will only reach homes if it hasn’t spoiled. On top of that, food banks can’t risk the wasted time or finances of large corporate donors.
There is specific walk-in safety to be aware of at all times. Thermo-Kool's commercial refrigeration team is highly experienced in helping food banks maintain nutritious food in walk-ins for extended periods. Here are just a few ways Thermo-Kool's walk-in monitor system helps:
- Power failure alarm
- Two-compartment temperature monitoring
- Door status monitoring
- 85 dB built-in buzzer with visual alarm display
- Door/door frame/peep window heater control
- Panic button- illuminates during power failure
Make sure perishable foods are safely preserved long enough to deliver to communities in need. Food banks can quickly reduce the demand on staff and save precious inventory.
Get the ultimate checklist on durable walk-in refrigeration.