While food banks and pantries often have canned and boxed food available, there are tough logistical challenges to getting fresh, perishable food to hungry families.
During the pandemic, Caritas of Port Chester/Meals on Main Street became a distribution hub for fresh food going to several small pantries that had limited storage capacity. To expand the model and get healthy food to more people, the group is using a grant from the Westchester Community Foundation to create a regional “hub and spoke” model. It will use a 20-foot refrigerated truck with detachable rolling shelves to quickly expedite the delivery of fresh produce and perishables from local farms and food suppliers.
Caritas will receive fresh produce from farms in Northern Westchester and Putnam counties, and pick up unused food from local retailers and restaurants for quick, refrigerated redistribution, saving it from being thrown out.
The group will hire formerly incarcerated trainees from Hudson Link for Higher Education’s job-training programs at the Sing Sing Correctional Facility in Ossining.
The new system will deliver several thousand pounds of additional food weekly to local families.