Since the United States Department of Agriculture Farmers to Families Food Box Program launched in May 2020, CityServe’s collaborative network of churches and faith-based organizations have distributed over 5 million food boxes across the United States. Food box distribution in CityServe’s network totals over 120 million pounds of wholesome foods delivered to families living in the “Last Mile of Need.”“Farmers to Families is the ‘American Trifecta’ to serve families living in the ‘Last Mile of Need.’ America’s great farmers, suppliers, and non-profits uniting to bring hope and help to so many negatively impacted by the pandemic,” said Dave Donaldson, CityServe chairman and co-founder.
A wide span of thousands of churches, a proven HUB to POD distribution model, and generous suppliers have enabled CityServe to effectively deliver over 5 million food boxes through the “Last Mile of Need” where the most vulnerable are often unseen or forgotten. USDA approved food supply contractors coordinate with CityServe to deliver food boxes to CityServe HUBs. A CityServe HUB is a church or faith-based nonprofit with the capacity to be the distribution center of food boxes to local churches, also known as PODs (point of distribution), in its geographical region. A POD is a local church coordinating with CityServe to receive food boxes from its assigned HUB and meet the needs of its neighborhood with compassionate giving and relationship building. Local churches have a unique ability to deliver food to the “Last Mile of Need” because they are in close relationship with their neighbors and most aware of the needs and specific circumstances in their community. They look out for the unseen, forgotten, and left behind. Most recently, CityServe has expanded its distribution arm to local food banks and schools, particularly in underserved communities.
“CityServe’s model truly takes the food deep into the community where the need is great. It’s our dream to be a part of this program and help people, which is why Produce Alliance is extremely excited to work with CityServe in distributing over a million food boxes,” said Melissa Melshenker Ackerman, president of Produce Alliance, a national food supply company and USDA approved contractor.
For round three of the Farmers to Families Food Box Program, occurring through October 31, 2020, CityServe is continuing to collaborate with USDA approved contractors to deliver millions of food boxes to the “Last Mile of Need.” Food insecure households have increased drastically to 27.5% amid the pandemic (Bauer 2020). Because the need for food assistance is high and widespread, CityServe’s goal to equip churches to meet the needs of the most vulnerable in their neighboring communities.
“The biggest thing that struck me in launching the food distribution program was the great need in our community for food,” said Pastor Tobe Johnson, Living Hope Fellowship in Helena, Montana. “This has been one of the most effective community-oriented missions we’ve been part of in our history.”