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BECOMING A PARTNER AGENCY
First, learn more about the Food Bank of the Southern Tier
Click here for the Food Bank’s history and for our service area here
Click here for the Food Bank’s mission and vision.
Click here for an explanation of the difference between a food bank and food pantry.
How do I start a food pantry or meal program?
Providing food assistance by opening a meal program or food pantry is a big responsibility – requiring a great deal of time, funds and energy – but its rewards can be even greater. We often receive calls from concerned community members across the Southern Tier looking to help their neighbors in need by starting a new program. Chances are, however, that there is already an agency in operation doing the sort of work you seek to do in your community. Before initiating a food program of your own, you might consider partnering with agencies that are already distributing food in your community by providing volunteer or financial support to help them expand their hours or the number of people they serve. Most of our agencies would happily accept additional support from their neighbors.
If you decide to start your own program and would like some help getting started, please refer to our Partner Agency Agreement and Prospective Partner Agency Checklist to see the kinds of requirements included in partnership with the Food Bank, and note that you must be fully operational for three consecutive months before your program can be considered for partnership with the Food Bank. Partnership with the Food Bank is not required of all food programs – there are a number of programs throughout the Southern Tier that are independent of Food Bank membership -- but is highly beneficial.
How do I receive food from the Food Bank?
Only partner agencies of the Food Bank can order product from the Food Bank. Applying for membership is a process that takes some time. The basic requirements are as follows:
What is the process for becoming a Food Bank partner agency?
What other considerations are there for becoming a Food Bank partner agency?
There are a few other things the Food Bank takes into consideration when vetting prospective member agencies.
What are the benefits of becoming a partner agency?
Where does the Food Bank get its food from?
There are three categories of product – donated, purchased, and USDA commodities. In 2014, the Food Bank carried each category of product in the following amounts:
Donated Food: 5,677,004 lbs. (58%) Feeding America, NYS Producers/Farmers, Venison Donation Coalition, Grocery Retailers
Purchased Food: 2,784,555 lbs. (27%) New York State Contract - HPNAP and Wholesale Purchased Food
USDA Commodities: 1,407,866 lbs. (15%) TEFAP (The Emergency Food Assistance Program)
Why do partner agencies have to buy food from the Food Bank?
Many food pantry and community meal coordinators approach the Food Bank with the understanding that, because the Food Bank is a non-profit organization, they will be able to get food for free or “donated” to their program. While there are some products that partner agencies can order from the Food Bank at no cost to them, there are others that agencies pay a fee for. The Food Bank has two categories of product offered – donated and wholesale. Donated food has been donated to the Food Bank and is available to partner agencies at a maximum of $0.18 per pound. Wholesale food is purchased by the Food Bank in bulk (often by the truckload) and made available to agencies at a price competitive to the retail market. We are often able to offer lower costs because of the purchasing power we have in procuring product in such large quantities, as well as our connections through Feeding America. Many agencies cover purchased and donated food costs with grants that the Food Bank helps administer, namely the HPNAP Food Grant, which is available to pantries, kitchens, and shelters.
388 Upper Oakwood Ave.
Elmira, New York 14903
Hours: Mon.-Fri. 8-4
(Summer hours Mon.-Thurs. 8-4:30; Fri. 8-1)
The Food Bank of the Southern Tier is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. EIN 20-8808059