Before an agency partner can order juice boxes for their meal program or a Mobile Pantry partner can unload a truck full of fresh produce, the food must first spend time in one of our warehouses and be handled by food bankers.
But our staff can’t do their jobs without the appropriate equipment — every piece is essential. Our warehouse employees unload pallets of food using forklifts and place them high on racks or in a freezer or cooler. They use pallet jacks to fulfill agency orders and load them into waiting vans. Our maintenance staff relies on a scissor lift to bring them high enough to clear cobwebs or add racking. This year, support from Wells Fargo helped us acquire racking, a new scissor lift and a reefer trailer for our Comstock Park location — helping accomplish our mission.
Racks are needed to store food as it waits for our agency partners to order it. Right now, the food bank is bursting at the seams, but it takes only one or two months for everything to be completely replenished. A case of canned beans that’s put even on the highest shelf, for example, will come down in just a few weeks.
Leslie, who performs facilities maintenance, helped install the new racking and uses the scissor lift almost daily.
“It’s beautiful,” she said of the racking. “It’s much better. There’s that much more room.”
Like the racking, the new scissor lift is an important building block for the rest of our work.
“It’s important for us as far as maintenance goes. I can get all the way to the ceiling to dust things, fix lights, repair anything,” Leslie said. “We used to have one that was really old. It wouldn’t stay charged for more than a day. This one is amazing and it goes even higher.”
She explained having a scissor lift on site is so much more convenient than renting one. Whenever anyone — such as a Wi-Fi installer — needs to get up high, they can use the scissor lift.
Leslie’s work is so essential to everything we do. If the cobwebs weren’t cleared, the lights weren’t repaired or we had insufficient racking for food storage, the food bank would not be able to fill the plates of so many neighbors in need across West Michigan and the Upper Peninsula.
Feeding America West Michigan can only fulfill our mission because of generous and hardworking people involved in every step of the hunger-relief process — from donating to storing to distributing. These efforts help thousands have enough nutritious food for their families.