RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — The Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina teams up with a well-known delivery service to reach more senior citizens in need, and their impact is growing exponentially.
The food bank is partnering with DoorDash to deliver food to seniors 60 or older, living at least 130% below the poverty line.
Christi Mallasch, Director of Senior Nutrition Programs at the food bank, says the partnership helps them reach even more people in the community.
“A lot of these people are people that aren’t necessarily super mobile, have trouble with transportation, some of them live in rural areas or are housebound,” she explained.
Here’s how it works – each month, volunteers at the food bank’s warehouse squeeze about 16 predominately shelf-stable food items into a box to make sure people have what they need. The box, which weighs about 35-to-40 pounds, is then delivered to someone’s home.
“It’s a nice, hefty box with a little bit of everything you might need for the month,” Mallasch said.
The boxes are part of a federal nutrition program for senior citizens, called the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP).
Mallasch said their partnership with DoorDash started when the delivery service approached the food bank in the fall of 2021, asking if they wanted to be part of Project DASH — DoorDash’s collaboration with Feeding America’s MealConnect system to provide hunger relief and aid in reducing food waste.
She said DoorDash offered the food bank a year of free deliveries, which began in January 2022. After the year wrapped up, Mallasch said the food bank was able to secure a grant to pay for the service.
“It was a huge hit,” she said. “We’re just pretty excited about this whole endeavor.”
Since deliveries began in January 2022, Mallasch said the food bank has delivered about 13,000 boxes in 13 counties in the region.
“Just this year so far we’ve done about 8,000. So we really scaled up the program,” she said.
“We saw the ability of our technology and our platform, when matched with the local expertise of food banks and pantries, to be a pretty powerful combination,” said Daniel Riff, Senior Manager of Government and Nonprofit for DoorDash.
To date, he said Project DASH and their partners have completed more than 5 million deliveries across the country, which amounts to 80 million meals. Any organizations interested in partnering with DoorDash can reach out by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
How to get help
You can click here to apply for the CSFP program.
But right now, Mallasch says the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina is nearing their government-mandated caseload for the program.
She says anyone in need should also reach out to the food bank, so they can find a way to help.
“I would say if you’re within 10 miles of a food bank branch, and you’re a senior citizen, at least call us and we can try to see if it’s an option for you,” she said. “We would at least talk to you, figure out if there’s anything we can do for you. At the very least we would get you to a partner agency who could probably connect you with some resources as well.”
The Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina has more than 700 partner agencies across 34 counties.
Click here to find help near you.