Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York Executive Director Mark Quandt with 40,000 lbs of donated nonperishable food items.
Photo by Zan Strumfeld.
COLONIE Part of what was labeled an historic food donation rumbled into the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York Tuesday, Jan. 15, ensuring thousands of people will have food on the table this winter.
Tractor trailer trucks filled with a total of 400,000 lbs of shelf-sustainable food departed are being shipped from the Ocean State Job Lot Rhode Island warehouse to 10 locations across the region, as part of the company’s Three Square Meals program.
Throughout the year, OSJL will deliver over $1.25 million worth of food, making it the largest single food donation by a private company in New England. One truck made its way to the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York in Latham Tuesday, where it delivered nonperishable food that will help serve thousands of Capital Region residents.
The donation program started 10 years ago, when OSJL stores ask shoppers to contribute money at the register during the holiday season. During 2012’s holiday season, shoppers in seven states were asked to donate $1 at the register through Dec. 31 to help buy goods for local food banks. OSJL then matched the customer donation’s first $100,000. In two months, the program raised more than $1.2 million.
“Just in that short period of time we had a lot of success,” OSJL Store Manager Peter Sgorrano said. “The donations this year have been great … (there is) overwhelming support for the program.”
Over the coming months, OSJL’s donations will help provide 333,330 meals to communities around the northeast. All of the food is shelf stable, such as canned tuna, canned soup and tomatoes.
“It’s stuff that will last a great shelf life,” Sgorrano said.
The Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York collects donations of food and distributes it to 1,000 charity agencies in 23 counties.
“Last year, we distributed about 28 million pounds of food,” Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York Executive Director Mark Quandt said.
The food bank has been working with OSJL for several years, and this year specifically, OSJL’s donation will be very helpful for agencies.
“It’s great. Nonperishable food is really helpful because you don’t need refrigeration for it,” Quandt said. “This will be great product, agencies will love it. It will go very fast.”