By Maria Segoviano and Joy Cohan
During a time of continued extraordinary demand for food assistance in Yolo County, a “cool” donation by CalFoods Logistics has enabled Yolo Food Bank to invest in an additional 1,200 square feet of refrigerated storage space. This generosity was just in time for harvest season, maximizing the organization’s ability to nourish the community.
“This unit will allow 20-25 farmers to bring as much as 56,000 pounds of additional produce into our facility, so that we can support healthier eating in Yolo County this season,” said Yolo Food Bank’s Director of Operations Corkey Mapalo. “I’m very excited that our community now can benefit from this, and I’m so thankful to CalFoods Logistics for helping us to acquire this refrigerated unit.”
Yolo Food Bank is on track to recover, store, and distribute at least 12 million pounds of food this year, compared with 10 million pounds in 2020 and only six million pounds in pre-COVID 2019. CalFoods Logistics provided 250,000 pounds of this food last year – both fresh vegetables and shelf-stable items – as Yolo Food Bank’s ongoing provider of the State of California-funded Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) products, enhancing surplus edible food recovery capabilities.
When CalFoods CEO Steve Linkhart heard that Yolo Food Bank was seeking funding for more refrigeration for this and other produce and fresh food donated by local farmers, grocers, and distributors, he felt motivated to assist.
“CalFoods is happy to support the cooler and add more capacity to get food out to the people who can use it,” Linkhart shared. “Our Woodland warehouse team is dedicated, and this investment ensures that everybody in this area benefits from CalFoods’ presence.”
With CalFoods’ donation, Yolo Food Bank’s total cold storage capacity is about 5,000 square feet, with more expected in an adjacent second warehouse now in planning stages.
“The pandemic-driven food security emergency has never really diminished, and now the uncertainties around the Delta variant surge are further exacerbating pre-existing inequities in our local food system,” explained Yolo Food Bank Executive Director Michael Bisch. “Despite our move to a much larger facility just 30 months ago, we’re bursting at the seams in our current warehouse. This is especially true when it comes to storage space for produce and other fresh foods that are the most nutritious for the struggling residents whom we serve.”
A three-fold increase in demand for nutrition since Spring 2020 has resulted in Yolo Food Bank serving more than 60,000 Yolo County residents monthly ever since, from nearly 130 food distributions. This includes food access partnerships with more than 80 nonprofit programs countywide. An intensifying focus upon surplus edible food recovery pairs with the support of a network of donors of food, funds, and time to strive to meet the food security needs of children and families, senior citizens, farm workers, students, veterans, and all who face disruption in their dependable access to healthy food.
“Our gratitude is deep for Cal Foods’ investment in our ability to maintain this sky-high level of service to the community,” Bisch stated. “More than 90% of Yolo Food Bank’s annual funding to nourish some of the very people who harvest our local fields depends upon this kind of private generosity. Neighbors who are heroes for their community in need, such as CalFoods, make this possible, and are having a significant impact on health and economic outcomes as the pandemic continues to batter us all.”
Maria Segoviano is Marketing and Communications Manager and Joy Cohan is Director of Philanthropic Engagement of the Yolo Food Bank