Sixty nine percent of people served by Feeding America had to choose between food for their families and utilities, according to a survey they conducted in 2014. Sixty six percent had to choose between food and medical care. Hunger is a challenge many people face daily across the country.
“At Dot, food is at the center of what we do. That’s why we’re passionate about helping lessen hunger and supporting our local food pantries who are working year-round toward ending hunger,” said Joe Tracy, Dot Foods CEO. “Supporting the work of our local food pantries is the heart of our Neighbor-to-Neighbor program. It is neighbors helping neighbors, working together to make sure everyone can put a meal on their table.”
In 2010, Dot contributed a full truckload of product to a Feeding America food bank in the area of each of its 10 locations as part of the company’s 50th anniversary celebration. Then in 2014, Neighbor-to-Neighbor donated $50,000 to regional food banks near each of the company’s locations. Food banks collect food and distribute it to hunger-relief organizations. Over time, Dot changed its focus to be more localized. Since 2016, Dot has opted to donate directly to food pantries each year, allowing employees more visibility to the contributions at work in their own communities. 2021 is the seventh year Dot has executed this program.
Today, Dot donates $5,000 to up to 10 food pantries in the Mt. Sterling area. In our other locations, Dot will donate up to $30,000 of product, but the number of organizations who receive donations varies. The goal is to spread donations equally across the counties we have employees from, where the food will directly affect the people we live near, play with, and care for.
Which pantries are eligible to receive donations from Dot via the Neighbor-to-Neighbor program?
Their location must be able to accommodate a Dot truck delivery.
They must be able to accept 4 pallets of food or supplies at one time—this is about how much $5,000 worth of product equates to.
Most pantries must participate in the Feeding America program. DCs now have the option to donate to one pantry that has purposefully chosen not to take part in Feeding America but has a good reputation in the community.
“We are thankful for Dot Foods’ super generous donation,” said Cliff Judd, food pantry liaison at St. Joseph’s Church Food Pantry and Helpline in Modesto, California. “We will be able to help the homeless, low income, and fixed income people in our community. We serve several hundred clients in need of food and utility bills. Recently, our main supplier of food has had a shortage of canned food items. This donation will allow us to continue to offer each client to receive at least fourteen food items per visit.”
What do we donate?
Over the years, Dot has done a lot of research and learned a lot from the pantries we have had the privilege of serving. The feedback helps drive what we offer each year. Not all pantries need the same items, so Dot offers each a shopping list to choose from. We focus on the items pantries need most but are actually donated the least—shelf stable, complete meals, high protein options, and hygiene items.
Who makes it happen?
Dot has a corporate committee dedicated to planning the Neighbor-to-Neighbor events. The committee always has a representative from purchasing, who builds the list of items we donate, customer service, who places the order, and transportation, who coordinates the deliveries. Dot employee volunteers help food pantry staff unload their donations.
“A lot of people put a lot of time and energy and passion into making sure it goes smoothly for the deliveries as well as the pantries,” committee leader Kimberly Carey said. “It’s a good experience for everybody to participate in.”