MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The Montgomery Area Food Bank has teamed up with Walmart to eliminate food waste.
As Hurricane Irma impacted Florida, Walmart food shipments were forced to divert to distribution centers in Brundidge and Opelika. With the influx of extra food, the distribution centers struggled to decide what to do with all of it, especially the fresh produce. That was when Walmart decided to reach out to MAFB.
"Whenever we receive a call from Walmart asking us if we can pick up additional food, our attitude is not dealing with yes or no, it's yes," said MAFB's Deputy Director David Fata. "But, when they told me how much fresh produce they had, and that they called us, because we'd be the fastest way to get it to our neighbors in need before it went bad, my answer may have been yes, but all the time I was on the phone, I was already thinking about how the heck are we going to get this accomplished!"
One of MAFB's outreach programs includes the Mobile Pantry/Exercise, Nutrition and Diet Program. Each MP/END is spearheaded by local community agencies and every delivery provides between five and seven tons of assistance to one place at one time.
"We immediately called the agencies who were already scheduled to conduct a Mobile Pantry to see if they could handle taking additional food," said Fata. "Their attitudes were a lot like ours: Absolutely!"
Fata said single deliveries became doubled and double MP deliveries became equivalent to a triple MP.
"Then we turned to other agencies who have shown the proven capability of conducting short-notice MP/ENDs in the past," said Fata. "We were able to add eight additional agencies, who conducted a combination of double and triple deliveries!"
Fata says he's sure the deliveries made by MAFB from the Walmart shipments will set a record for pounds distributed through the MP/END program, which, during Hunger Action Month, seems fitting.