food bank donation

Shown holding a facsimile of a $100,000 check from the Franklin P. and Arthur W. Perdue Foundation to Food Bank of the Albemarle are (l-r) Will Meiggs, Food Bank board member; Liz Reasoner, Food Bank executive director; Jeff Stalls of Perdue Lewiston; Guy Burkholder of Perdue Lewiston; and Andy Spencer, Food Bank director of operations.

Food Bank of the Albemarle has unveiled a new 53-foot, refrigerated tractor-trailer the hunger relief agency purchased with a $100,000 grant from the charitable giving arm of Perdue Farms.

The tractor-trailer provides the Food Bank additional storage and transportation capacity, enabling the agency to distribute an additional 700,000 pounds of food across its 15-county service territory in northeastern North Carolina.

In use since March, the trailer has already stored 200,000 pounds of food, distributed more than 100,000 pounds of food, and been used to pick up an estimated 60,000 pounds of produce from local farmers.

Liz Reasoner, the Food Bank’s executive director, thanked the Franklin P. and Arthur W. Perdue Foundation for the $100,000 grant, describing it as a “most generous gift.” She called the tractor-trailer an “indispensable asset” to the agency’s ongoing COVID-19 relief efforts, and said it “will have an incredible impact on Food Bank operations for years to come.”

According to the Food Bank, the agency currently serves 235,573 people annually through its food distribution programs. In early 2016, the agency’s board of directors adopted Feeding America’s Bold Goal of closing the meal gap in America by 2025. In order for the Food Bank to meet the goal, it must increase its distribution of food by 11 percent a year and eventually distribute 9.4 million meals annually.

“Expanding the Food Bank’s storage capacity is instrumental in closing the meal gap,” the agency said.

The $100,000 grant to Food Bank of the Albemarle was one of 10 the foundation awarded to food banks in January in conjunction with Perdue Farms’ Delivering Hope To Our Neighbors hunger relief initiative and in celebration of the company’s 100th anniversary.

“At Perdue Farms, we’re committed to doing all that we can to support the communities we call home, and value our ability to help address the issue of food insecurity,” said Kim Nechay, the Perdue Foundation’s executive director. “We’re proud that we can expand our partnership with the Food Bank of Albemarle through this gift and improve their ability to help meet the needs of our neighbors, especially during this uncertain time.”

Since 2017, Perdue Farms said it has donated more than 182,803 pounds — the equivalent of 731,212 servings — of protein to Food Bank of the Albemarle.

Brian Gray, communications and volunteers manager for the Food Bank, said the agency purchased the tractor-trailer in March after receiving the Perdue Foundation grant. The Food Bank intended to announce the grant and trailer’s acquisition at an event in April that included Perdue representatives. However, the announcement was put on hold when the COVID-19 pandemic began preventing safe gatherings.

The Food Bank and Perdue are making the announcement now, Gray said, because the trailer is in use and both entities wanted to show “the impact it’s having on food distribution.”