When the Maryland Food Bank first began their membership at the MARC in 2018, they started with just one truck a week, receiving bins of bulk product and using volunteers to short and bag for their pantries. According to Andrew Miller, the food bank’s food sourcing manager, joining the MARC began as an opportunity for the food bank to source more produce at lower cost to enhance their own produce sourcing.
Now, after being a member of the MARC for almost 3 years, the Maryland Food Bank has come to average around 5 loads per week and utilizes the MARC as their main source of produce.
Like most food banks across the country, the rise of COVID-19 lead to The Maryland Food Bank’s need to provide pre-boxed produce for their partner agencies. “We no longer had the volunteers that we were used to having to bag and get the produce ready, so the grab and go MARC boxes were essential,” Miller stated.
In addition to the shift in boxes, the food bank needed flexibility with their orders, another value add that the MARC was able to provide. “At any given point in time, our needs change. One week we were doing about two standard loads and then the next week we shifted to 1 ½ o two premium loads per week,” said Miller.
Most recently, the food bank shifted to solely premium boxes in order to distribute product with a longer shelf life, giving agencies more time to distribute and clients more time to consume their produce once they bring it home. “The MARC enabled the Maryland Food Bank to really pivot and scale our pantry on the go program quickly when we needed it the most.”
Learn more about the MARC: https://www.feedingpa.org/our-programs/marc/