All-Delivery program saves agencies time, money

This year, the Food Depository took a big step to save partner agencies time and money by bringing their entire food order to them – eliminating the need for them to pick any food up from the Food Depository’s warehouse. Through the new All-Delivery program, made possible by generous donors, all agency orders are now being delivered by the Food Depository’s transportation staff.

The change has been beneficial to network members like Vivian Lewis, who runs a soup kitchen in Maple Park.

Before the All-Delivery program, every Tuesday, Vivian would leave her house by 6:45 a.m. She’d battle the morning rush for over an hour while she trekked to the Food Depository.

She was making her weekly Food Depository run – picking up the food her agency needs to feed clients for the week.

Her tiny car crammed with boxes of food, Vivian would set off to Maple Park. She wouldn’t get there until at least 11:30 a.m.

“Yeah, it made for a long morning, picking up food at the Food Depository every week,” she said. “I was limited in the amount of food I got by how small my car was and renting a truck was just too expensive.”

Now that Vivian’s program is on the All-Delivery program, her Tuesdays are much different.

“The all-delivery model is a godsend,” Vivian said. “There’s absolutely no downside.”

But there are plenty of upsides, Vivian says.

“The time-saving element is the best part of it,” she said. “But I also no longer have to spend the gas money to get to the Food Depository each week. That’s money I can spend on things that keep the soup kitchen running.”

"The all-delivery model is a godsend. There's absolutely no downside."

Vivian Lewis, soup kitchen manager

Meanwhile, the All-Delivery program made an immediate impact on holiday food distributions in 2016. In the past, agencies would pick up their holiday food orders of turkey, chicken, ham and sides at the Food Depository on one Saturday morning.

Not this year. And that made a difference to Lloyd Edgerson, whose West Side agency hosts a holiday meal.

“It helped us out a lot,” Lloyd said. “Not having to wait in the line to pick up the food meant we were able to better manage our time in preparing the meals.”

It also meant the soup kitchen saved money, since they didn’t have to rent a vehicle or pay a driver. And, they were able to order more food since space wasn’t a constraint.

St. Stephen received nearly 1,400 pounds of turkeys, chickens and holiday sides in their delivery. That translated to more than 200 holiday meals for their clients between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

“The highlight of those meals was to see the faces of the people we serve,” Lloyd said. “It’s an outpouring of gratitude.”