The value of the food that Harry Chapin Food Bank rescues and distributes has increased, based on the nonprofit’s latest analysis. This means that for every $1 donated to the food bank, the organization provides $8’s worth of food to its partner agencies and clients in Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry and Lee counties.
Previous years’ analysis indicated that for each donated dollar the food bank could provide $6 in food.
The food bank can turn a donated dollar into $8 worth of food because it continues to be more efficient in the way it rescues food that would otherwise go to waste and then distributes it to partner agencies that operate pantries, soup kitchens and other food programs, said Richard LeBer, Harry Chapin’s president and CEO.
“It’s so much more than a dollar,” LeBer said. “That is one of the things we like people to understand when they make an investment in the Harry Chapin Food Bank.”
The food bank can multiply each donated dollar into $8 because of the way it sources food through growers, supermarkets and retail stores, community food drives and other sources. Once the food reaches its docks, Harry Chapin then relies on its fleet of trucks, staff, thousands of volunteers and others to sort, pack and get the food to its network of 150-plus partner agencies that ultimately provide food to children, working-poor families, seniors and other people in need.
In fiscal year 2016, the Harry Chapin Food Bank distributed 20.6 million pounds of food—the equivalent of 17 million meals. The organization estimates that it will provide 21.9 million pounds of food this fiscal year.
“The amount of food distributed by the food bank increased more than 10 percent last year, but our cost didn’t increase at the same rate because we’re getting better at handling that food,” LeBer said. “Food is a way of bringing people together around which we can leverage all those resources.”
The $1 to $8 multiplier means that financial contributions can have more of an impact, especially this giving season, LeBer said.
“One dollar can become $8. Ten dollars can become $80, and $100 can become $800,” he said. “It’s so much more than a dollar because we can help strengthen the community and we can help strengthen families.”