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Food Bank Workforce and Community Partnerships During COVID-19

Case Study Last Reviewed: July 6, 2020

Food banks can partner with restaurants, schools, or private and non-profit organizations to increase their workforce, community reach, and food supply during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The following is a list of key findings and considerations for jurisdictions and communities regarding ongoing COVID-19 pandemic operations across the country. These are best practices for consideration and do not constitute and should not be considered as guidance in any way.

This document contains references and links to non-federal resources and organizations. This information is meant solely for informational purposes and is not intended to be an endorsement of any non-federal entity by FEMA, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, or the U.S. government.

Potential Best Practices

  • The Atlanta Community Food Bank is working with schools by providing additional weekly food distributions to 20 sites across five school districts. The number of sites where food is being distributed continues to grow.
  • The organization Northwest Harvest has called for additional volunteers among high school seniors, college students, and furloughed workers, creating a workforce that can address the increasing need for food distribution services.
  • The organization Food Rescue US provides a platform to match last-minute food donations with volunteers who can deliver them to local charities.
  • In a partnership between the Texas Governor’s Public Safety Office, the Texas Network of Family and Youth Success Programs, Favor Delivery, and the Texas Restaurant Association and the Comfort Food Care Package (CFCP) program allows participating restaurants to offer CFCPs for patrons to purchase on behalf of families and youth in need. Each care package contains enough food to feed a family of 5 to 6 and will be delivered to recipients’ homes.
  • A food bank in Fort Worth, Texas has switched from a volunteer staffing model to paid staff, many of whom were recently laid off from work.
    • The food bank is also collaborating with AmeriCorps to recruit more employees who will be paid by AmeriCorps.
  • Amid a shortage of volunteers in Michigan, the National Guard is helping a Feeding America food bank with food packing and distribution.
  • In anticipation of further reduction in the food bank workforce, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture Bureau of Food Assistance recommends cross-training staff for essential positions required to sustain operations.
Last updated February 3, 2021