Feeding America West Michigan to expand fresh food distributions with CSX, Conservation Fund grant

Feeding America West Michigan's CSX/Conservation Fund grant will fund Mobile Food Pantry distributions like this one.
Feeding America West Michigan’s CSX/Conservation Fund grant will fund Mobile Food Pantry distributions like this one.

CSX and the Conservation Fund announced today that Feeding America West Michigan is one of 10 charitable organizations in the South, Midwest and on the East Coast to receive grants to improve the transportation and distribution of fresh, healthy food to communities in need. Each organization will receive $10,000 to enhance food delivery services so that they can bring fresh, nutritious food to their communities.

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In many underserved communities food distribution organizations, such as food pantries, encounter difficulty getting fresh, healthy food. Many producers and organizations also face challenges retaining quality and safety as they sell, store, package and distribute fresh food. As a result, more than 23 million Americans across the country have limited or no access to fresh produce, dairy, meats and seafood.

Feeding America West Michigan will use its grant to purchase a refrigerated straight truck, which will expand its program capacity and broaden Mobile Food Pantry distribution to additional individuals within communities in need of fresh food in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Feeding America West Michigan’s Mobile Food Pantries are particularly effective in areas where there is inadequate “hunger infrastructure,” such as a lack of food pantries or pantries that are limited in hours or refrigerated storage capacity. The refrigerated straight truck will bring 21 new distributions of fresh food annually to more than 7,000 underserved, food-insecure individuals in the Upper Peninsula by January 2017.

As a leading supplier of efficient rail-based freight transportation in North America, CSX recognizes the integral role that transportation plays in connecting communities.

“At CSX, it’s our job to connect communities through transportation every day, so we are proud to work with the Conservation Fund to support the local distribution of healthy and fresh food across many of the communities where we work and live,” said Tori Kaplan, assistant vice president for corporate social responsibility at CSX. “Partnering with local organizations helps us live our commitment to improving the health and wellness of communities across our 21,000 miles of track.”

The Conservation Fund, a national nonprofit dedicated to finding conservation solutions that balance environmental and economic needs, has partnered with CSX to help address gaps in local food distribution and enhance delivery capabilities.

“With CSX’s partnership, we’re not only helping to connect America’s families to fresh fruit and produce but we’re also supporting our local farmers and working farms,” said Kris Hoellen, vice president of sustainable programs at the Conservation Fund. “The Healthy Food Transportation Grant Program is a clear win for American families and farmers.”

The grant program supports organizations that distribute fresh produce and perishable food in the 23 states where CSX operates. Combined, the 10 recipient organizations provide 118,000,000 pounds of nutritious food, the equivalent of 98,000,000 meals, to approximately 6 million people per year.

The other grant recipients include Capital Roots in N.Y., the Chattanooga Area Food Bank and Feeding America Tampa Bay.