May 2017
Mobile Pantry Newsletter
Printable Nutrition Resources:
At Feeding America West Michigan, we always want to enrich the minds of our clients as well as their bodies. By providing small elements of Nutrition Education at your Mobile Pantry, you can enrich the minds and bodies of your clients. Below we have included some printable handouts that you're welcome to share with clients. They are simple, free and a great way to have fun and engage your clients in their overall health.
Spoilage and Produce
Mobile Pantries have become one of our favorite ways to distribute fresh fruits and vegetables to those in need. It's always our goal to send the best possible variety and quality product to our agencies. When you're dealing with fresh products, you may have some items that are not at the peak of perfection and things you don't feel good about handing out. As an organization, we never want you to give out product you find questionable or sub-par.
However, it is important to know that most of the produce we have to offer is donated to us. It comes from many places but often it comes to us because it is excess items from the harvest. We call these items "Number Twos." This is because it is their second chance to be distributed to people in need. When you deal with number twos, it's not going to be the grade that you get at the store. It was donated to us because it's not perfect. Many times, it's because the fruit is larger than normal or the vegetables are an odd shape. There's nothing wrong with their quality, they just aren't as "pretty." 
The produce will often look different than what you would find at the grocery store.  if you have lettuce that is slightly wilted or apples that are bruised, that is completely normal and nothing that should alarm you. However, if the produce is moldy or leeching, please don't hand out the product. We never want a client to get bad food or an agency to feel forced to hand it out. In these situations, we sugguest that you set it aside, take photos of the product and email them to us so we can adjust your invoice so send you additional pounds in the future.
On a 5,000 pound mobile, it is completely normal to have 50-100 pounds of food waste. 
Win-Win Data Collection for Mobile Distributions
Feeding America West Michigan believes that to best serve our clients and donors, appropriate and local data must be collected and analyzed. This data is able to guide the operations and mission of the Food Bank, as well as allowing Feeding America West Michigan to be a better partner to the agencies that we serve.
The Food Bank is asking partner agencies to start collecting the total number of children (under 18) and seniors (60+).  Many agencies are already collecting data, we encourage you to share this information with us by entering these numbers through your online account (Statistics Tab).
You may download the latest registration form from our website, . Ideally data collection is best utilized when entered electronically; you may wish to use spreadsheet (Excel or Google Sheets) or an online form (sample form, ). If you would like help using formating your data collection, please contact
Although this data collection process may require additional effort, there are numerous benefits that make the effort worthwhile:
  1. Gaining a greater awareness of the clients you are serving and better serving these individuals by tailoring your outreach materials or offering additional services.
  2. Letting data inform your future operations for precise planning, as well as reporting more specific successes and challenges of those operations.
  3. Engaging donors with reliable data and reports to show the worthiness of your program.
Here is a breakdown of the information that will be collected:
  • Zipcode: By better knowing where clients are coming from, the Food Bank and partners are better able to identify areas of need and plan operations accordingly. For example, if a significant number of the clients are coming from farther zipcodes than the local area may indicate, operations should be relocate or add additional distributions closer to where clients are travelling from Furthermore, collecting zipcodes may help an agency to determine if their chosen location is having the impact they desired. 

  • # in household: This is to track the number of individuals a distribution is feeding. Additionally, it allows Feeding America West Michigan to track how many individuals in a specific age group were served. This is information is useful for agencies to know to better tailor their services. 

  • Reason for Need: This information may be used depending on the grant. Nevertheless, this information is useful to plan for future operations and hunger relief efforts.
All grant funded mobile distributions must submit data to our Funds Development department electronically so this department can prepare the necessary reporting required by funders.
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