All of the highlights presented in this summary are explained in detail in the attached full proposal.
It is our intention that the CNP and TEFAP moved under the management of Mountaineer Food Bank (MFB). Having an established non-profit organization manage the receiving, storing and distributing for all of these programs would allow us to tailor the resources (both foods and funds) to better serve West Virginians with a streamlined operation.
- For 24 years MFB has supported the largest network of feeding programs in the State. Serving over 460 feeding programs and 260,000 people every month.
- MFB’s warehouse can be easily expanded to include all of the programs for only $440,000. Much of this cost can be gained through grants from private foundations.
- MFB’s warehouse is located in the geographic and population center of the state, according to the West Virginia Blue Book 2000.
- MFB’s extensive truck delivery system is already in place and currently delivers into 48 of the 55 counties every month with refrigerated trailers.
- MFB can easily modify our delivery system to include all 55 counties, giving the Board of Educations the delivery date, time and locations of their choice.
- MFB’s use of technology to track our inventory, delivery and monitoring is among the best in the country. (Our full-time computer programmer was independently contracted by Donated Foods to write their original program.)
- These programs can be incorporated in our daily procedures without any disruption to our operations.
- MFB has an exemplary track record for providing reliable, high quality service and meeting the highest safety, storage and sanitation standards.
Benefits to the schools
• Streamlined operations will provide every County’s Board of Education a cost savings of 5%.
• Schools will be able to order their food via the internet if they choose.
• MFB will deliver to the locations of their choice, providing a complete schedule in advance of each school year.
Benefits to all West Virginians
• As a non-profit entity we will ensure that the money saved will be used to benefit hungry West Virginians.
• Privatization will reduce redundancy and duplication of services.
• MFB will use additional funds to support the Hunters Helping the Hungry program, providing more protein rich venison throughout West Virginia.
• MFB will significantly increase the amount of fresh produce distributed providing more foods rich in vitamins and minerals which are needed for healthier living.
• Develop seed monies for grants to start new feeding programs in underserved areas
• West Virginia will stand out as a leader in the country, being the first State to privatize these programs, maximizing the benefits and reach of our tax dollars to better serve the people
I. Executive Summary
Mountaineer Food Bank has developed this proposal offering to partner with the State to privatize the receiving, storing, and distributing of The Child Nutrition Program (CNP), The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), and as appropriate the Home Land Security Strategic Food Reserve. We are aware that the federal monies, along with the required state match, are sufficient to support the program. The West Virginia Department of Agriculture Donated Foods Program handles both the TEFAP (USDA commodity foods) and the CNP (school breakfast and lunch foods). Mountaineer Food Bank handles 64.45 percent of TEFAP at the present time. The Donated Foods Program is paid by each of the county’s Board of Education for handling and/or delivering the CNP foods at a cost per case. It is our intention that these programs will be moved under the management of Mountaineer Food Bank. Having an established non-profit organization manage the receiving, storing and distributing for all of these programs would allow us to tailor the resources (both foods and funds) to better serve West Virginians with a streamline operation. Consolidating these programs under Mountaineer Food Bank will provide a savings of 5% to each county’s Board of Education, allow for regular and convenient deliveries and put more food in the mouths of those who are hungry in West Virginia.
Mountaineer Food Bank is a non-profit organization established in 1981 by an anti-hunger coalition of individuals who were operating feeding programs in their communities. At the onset we were affiliated with America's Second Harvest. Within a couple of years West Virginia Health and Human Resources discontinued distributing TEFAP by mass distribution and contracted Mountaineer Food Bank to receive, store, and distribute TEFAP to our network of feeding programs. Mountaineer Food Bank has the largest distribution network in the state of West Virginia, serving more than 460 feeding programs that feed 260,000 people every month. We also work in conjunction with the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources by promoting and managing the Hunters Helping the Hungry throughout the entire state. Mountaineer Food Bank handles approximately 5.7 million pounds annually including America's Second Harvest, Kids in Distress, Hunters Helping the Hungry, World Vision, local donations, produce, and disaster relief programs. We also have a purchase program that helps our feeding programs better serve their clients’ unmet needs. Mountaineer Food Bank has a full compliance audit done annually by Harris & Company, an independent firm. We are a no-fat, no-frills operation that regularly keeps our overhead costs under 5%, ensuring that the majority of our funds are used to serve the people through our programs and service. Our insurance coverage is adequate as regulated by America's Second Harvest and we always maintain a positive cash flow and sufficient reserves.
Our volunteer Board of Directors represents all areas of West Virginia. The Board of Directors also brings many different occupations and experiences to the table. Over the past 24 years we have gone through many changes and have experienced continual growth. From a small rented warehouse we expanded to three rented warehouses and from that to a new facility that was built tailored to our business of receiving and distributing foods and other products. We own this facility located in Braxton County, the geographic and population* center of our state. Future expansion of this facility was an important part of the original plans when acquiring the property and designing the facility. When the CNP, TEFAP, Home Land Security Strategic Food Reserve and other programs are added we will begin the expansion of this facility. During the construction phase we will once again rent temporary space near our Gassaway facility. The warehouse maintenance, housekeeping and storage practices are standard routine. Safety policies and procedures are practiced daily. Training in sanitation, safety, and pest control are a part of staff education on a national level. Good receiving and distribution practices safeguard the foods and the employees. The past inspections have resulted in total compliance. America's Second Harvest, Grocery Manufacturers of America, USDA inspectors for dry storage (who also reports to the FDA), and West Virginia Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspectors for meats are a few of the agencies who have observed our exemplary standards. Our sound receiving, storing and distributing practices are also passed to the feeding programs that we serve. Representatives of each feeding program are required to participate in a training, which includes education of safe handling for receiving, storing, and distributing dry, refrigerated and frozen foods. A qualified representative of the West Virginia University Extension Services teaches this training. The trainings have been held at Mountaineer Food Bank as well as in 16 other locations around the state. Every site is visited before any food is shipped to them and biannually a trained Food Bank employee visits each feeding program. At each inspection we check their storage facility, handling practices, and record keeping for TEFAP. Mountaineer Food Bank encourages communication from the feeding programs. “Hunger’s Voice” is the name given to a committee of 16 feeding programs who keep the Food Bank Board of Directors and staff informed about their challenges, opportunities and needs. This open communication strengthens our ability to meet the diverse needs of the communities around the state. Presently, our facility has the capacity for the receiving and distributing of 10 million pounds yearly including refrigerated and frozen goods. In 2004, we distributed just under 5.7 million pounds. These goods were distributed to 460 plus feeding programs in 48 counties of West Virginia and for more than 260,000 individuals monthly. Estimates from a licensed contractor show that for $440,000.00 we can expand our warehouse by two bays (10,000 square feet) giving us the capacity to handle an additional 5 million pounds (15 million pounds total). This will be ample space to include both the TEFAP and CNP into our operation with more room to grow. As a proven non-profit organization Mountaineer Food Bank is confident that the additional funds for construction can be raised through grants from private foundations and individual donations. To adequately serve the feeding programs in these 48 counties we have developed and pioneered the truck delivery system. We deliver to 48-drop sites, one-drop site in each of the counties we serve (one large county has two sites). Feeding programs are also encouraged to come to Mountaineer Food Bank to pick up orders if it is more convenient and/or if they need more foods and other products in between deliveries. We have also proven to be very successful in handling fresh produce. In 2003 Kraft Foods awarded Mountaineer Food Bank one of the largest of 15 grants in the United States to receive and distribute fresh produce. This grant helped introduce and encourage the people living in poverty to eat fresh produce. Since that time we have received and distributed 1,412,024 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables. Our distribution system is an essential component in making us successful in moving fresh produce rapidly with little to no spoilage. With little effort we can expand our distribution system to incorporate every county’s Board of Education storage facility. At the present time we have three tractor trucks and three refrigerated trailers (28 foot, 38 foot, 48 foot). We also have one straight truck with a 15 foot refrigerated box and two cargo vans. Our delivery schedule provides the date and arrival time for deliveries and is provided to each feeding program for the entire year in advance. This can be easily modified to include each county’s Board of Education delivery date, arrival time and the delivery locations of their choice. Mountaineer Food Bank has stored Braxton County Board of Education foods for more than four years. During this time Donated Foods Program representatives have inspected our warehouse as the storage facility, and we have not had any negative feedback. When TEFAP foods are received Donated Foods Program provides us a list of each county with the number of cases allocated. Mountaineer Food Bank is fortunate to have a computer programmer on staff. Our computer program was written in house and is programmed to allocate the cases to each food pantry in each county. Our programmer was independently contracted by Donated Foods Program and wrote the original program for Donated Foods Program, which allocates the number of cases to each county based on population and poverty. Mountaineer Food Bank is responsible for reporting the numbers of households per quarter that are being served in each county to Donated Foods Program for reporting to the federal level.
IV. Collaborative Efforts
The West Virginia Department of Natural Resources initiated the Hunters Helping the Hungry program 14 years ago and asked Mountaineer Food Bank to administer the program statewide. This program is a very beneficial source for red meat for the needy people of West Virginia contributing 504,396 pounds (or 2,521,980servings ) in the past eleven years. Mountaineer Food Bank not only administers the program but also does the physical picking up, storage and delivery of the meat. Grant writing, direct mail campaigns and educating the general public are some of the responsibilities that DNR has requested our assistance in. Huntington Area Food Bank became an independent affiliate of America's Second Harvest in 1992. Before that time Mountaineer Food Bank received and distributed the America's Second Harvest foods for the entire state. When Mountaineer Food Bank is receiving all of the TEFAP foods we will contract with the Huntington Area Food Bank. We will deliver their allocation of TEFAP to their warehouse, enabling them to continue to distribute to their network of feeding programs. Similar to the Hunters Helping the Hungry program and statewide anti-hunger advocacy work Mountaineer Food Bank will continue to maintain a positive working relationship with Huntington Area Food Bank as we both work to alleviate hunger in West Virginia. Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) is a collaborative group with statewide representation who pool their resources in the event of a disaster so the people will be better served with the limited resources that are available. From the inception of VOAD Mountaineer Food Bank has been represented and presently the Executive Director is also the President of VOAD. When the massive flooding occurred in July 2001 within two weeks Mountaineer Food Bank distributed 276,000 pounds of foods, personal care items and cleaning products in southern West Virginia. We loaned a staff person to West Virginia Office of Emergency Services for 3 weeks to work with Donations Management. From the floods of 1985 until present we have responded to the needs and work closely with the West Virginia State Office of Emergency Services. Due to our involvement and experience with disasters relief and disaster recovery it only stands to reason that the Home Land Security Strategic Food Reserve would be in the best hands with us.
We take pride in the level of technology used to support our inventory, feeding program files, our monitoring and communication of the available foods and other products. In 1999, America's Second Harvest recognized that our computer program was superior to systems in other food banks in the United States. By having a programmer on staff our customized program is tailored to fit our needs. America's Second Harvest invited our computer programmer and the staff who performed daily implementation to present a workshop at the Agency Relations Annual Conference. Our feeding programs have been placing their orders on line since July of 2000 making us one of the first Food Banks nationally to have these capabilities. This has also proven to be very successful with 80 percent of the programs participating. This will be a convenient and time saving option for the Board of Education to place their orders. For those who choose not to order on-line we mail inventory lists twice a month and fax inventory list upon request daily. Our experience of monitoring over 460 feeding programs biannually will help us as we expand our services to incorporate each County’s Board of Education storage facility. Our knowledge in safe food handling, rodent control, documenting temperatures, and cleaning schedules is a continuous sharing of information with feeding programs, which can be expanded also. Mountaineer Food Bank is capable and prepared to take on the responsibility of managing these additional programs without disrupting our daily operations. Having one entity receiving, storing and distributing the TEFAP, CNP and other programs will allow us to tailor the resources (both foods and funds) to better serve West Virginians with a streamlined operation. Privatizing these programs under our non-profit management will ensure that no one person or business will benefit from any profit or surplus. All excess funds, or profit, will be used to serve the mission “to alleviate hunger in West Virginia”. The hungry people of West Virginia will be the beneficiaries of this privatization. All surplus funds would be directed into three different areas: supplementing the Hunters Helping the Hungry program, increasing the distribution of fresh fruits and vegetables throughout the state, and providing seed monies to start new feeding programs in underserved areas of the state. This will improve the overall health and quality of life for hungry West Virginians. Consolidating all of these programs under Mountaineer Food Bank will reduce unnecessary overhead expenses, reduce redundancy and duplication of services and provide savings of 5% to each county’s Board of Education. The end result means more food for struggling West Virginians.
The time for this privatization is now with the Governor and legislature wrestling with another year of budget cuts and the increasing demand for more West Virginians needing assistance from food programs. We feel the call to be good stewards of both the foods and the funds that are available to help as many people as possible. Either the State legislature (with approval from the Secretary) or Governor Manchin can designate Mountaineer Food Bank as the agency responsible for handling these programs. This unique partnership will make West Virginia shine as an example to other states. West Virginia would be the only state handing these programs to the food bank, showing other states how to stretch their financial resources to meet the community needs. * West Virginia Blue Book 2000, Vol. 82 page 940