Helping our Partners Grow: Our biggest round of granting yet

Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano Agency Enhancement Grants

New trucks, refrigeration units, building improvements and more are on the way for 25 of our agency partners in Contra Costa and Solano Counties as part of our latest round of Agency Enhancement Grants.  

When you support the Food Bank, you’re also supporting our network of more than 260 partner soup kitchens, food pantries, child development centers and other agencies. Together, these agencies distribute more than half the food we serve, helping us reach our neighbors at the times and locations that work best for them. 

Like us, these agencies have only seen the need for their programs rise over the past few years. And, as part of our three-year strategic plan we’re committed to helping them grow their capacity so they can feed even more people in our community safely. Agency Enhancement Grants – which fund equipment and technological improvements to help our partners increase their capacity and upgrade their services – are one of the ways your support helps us accomplish this task.

For this winter’s round of grants, the focus was on funding big-ticket items that would help increase the amount of perishable and fresh foods our partners serve, or increase service to underserved communities. To be eligible for grants, agencies needed to distribute food at least once per week. This year, we were able to award $780,000 for these items, making it our largest funding round yet.

The grants will fund equipment purchases including refrigerated trucks, cargo vans, walk-in and commercial refrigerators and freezers. We’re also funding two building improvement projects that will improve public access to those agencies, and allow more food to be stored on-site. Our partners are purchasing their new items now, and will start to see them arrive over the next few months. 

Erin McKinney, the Food Bank’s Agency Relations Manager, says that receiving a grant for a new truck or piece of equipment can make all the difference for our partners – especially in cases when they have used personal vehicles or rental equipment to pick up food until now. “It just becomes that they need more food than they can carry,” she said. “And this is a gamechanger for them.”

We’ll share stories of how your support is helping these agencies serve our community as they receive their new equipment. In the meantime, here are some of the ways your support has already made a difference throughout our partner network: