SAN MARCOS — A 17-foot refrigerated truck was donated to the North County Community Services Food Bank July 19 and by the next morning, food bank workers were already putting it to use by picking up food donations. The refrigerated truck, donated by Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, is a valuable asset in transporting perishable foods from donors to the food bank warehouse and then to food distribution sites.
“It allows us to bring additional food into North County,” Stan Miller, executive director of North County Community Services, said.
The North County Community Services Food Bank works with more than 95 North County food assistance programs to aide 20,000 people a month.
The food assistance programs are run by nonprofit groups and tailored to serve pockets of low-income families and individuals. Assistance ranges from weekly food boxes to daily hot meals.
“There are a good number of children, seniors, folks who have limited resources to eat, pay rent, and buy medication,” Miller said. “A food safety net really helps.”
Food bank director Michael Lawson unloads a pallet of donated food. Photo by Promise Yee
Food bank workers said they feel a strong sense of purpose in the job they do.
“I feel I’m not giving a handout, but a helping hand,” Gus Prentice, driver and warehouse worker for North County Community Services Food Bank, said. “Your situation might not be what you want, but you always have us.”
The bonus of having an additional refrigerated truck is that it allows North County Community Services to transport more food in a timely manner and keep it fresh. The organization plans to add more food pickup sites to drivers’ routes thanks to the new truck.
More than 70 percent of the 2 million pounds of food the food bank collects and distributes a year is perishable. Once perishable food is brought to the warehouse it is stored in the walk-in refrigerator or freezer until it is distributed.
Fresh dairy foods, meats, fruits and vegetables are beneficial to a healthy diet.
“It’s always good to have great sources of fresh vegetables and proteins from meats,” Miller said.
In addition to ending hunger, the food bank also focuses on proving nutritious foods to those in need.