Wichita, KS – EIN 480959213 kansasfoodbank.org
We are committed to safeguarding the health, well-being and productivity of food-insecure Kansas families and their children, as well as senior citizens, the homeless and the chronically ill, and all who live in poverty.
We partner with hunger relief agencies across the state: food pantries, soup kitchens and shelters to reach individuals and families who seek food assistance. In addition the Kansas Food Bank runs several programs geared towards reaching children, families and senior citizens who experience food insecurity. Annually we provide a meal to over 215,000 Kansans who rely on our network.
The Kansas Food Bank began operations in a rented building in 1984, serving just 16 agencies in a single county. Almost 35 years later we are serving over 700 hunger-relief partners in 85 counties, with over 12 million meals distributed in FY16/17. We attribute our on-going growth to several moves intended to increase the number of hungry people we help, the ways in which we help, and the amount of food we distribute.
In 1985, the Kansas Food Bank became affiliated with Feeding America (known then as America’s Second Harvest), a national nonprofit that coordinates collection and distribution of millions of tons of food from national corporations that would otherwise be discarded as unmarketable waste.
To meet the demand for more nutritious, high protein food to our clients such as meat and peanut butter, we began supplementing donated food with purchased food. We source food from numerous entities to meet the needs of our partner agencies and their pantry guests. As manufacturers have become lean in their business practices, we find the need to purchase more food to supply our partners with.
In response to a state task force which reported that the number of children at risk of hunger because of lack of food available to people in poverty in rural Kansas, the food bank started a rural delivery program. Today that program reaches all 73,000 square miles that the food bank covers. Deliveries are made monthly to Dodge City, Garden City, Liberal, Colby, Goodland, Hays, Victoria, Great Bend, Concordia, Salina, Emporia, Junction City, Prescott, Ft. Scott and Iola. Rural delivery distribution got a big boost in 1997 when the Kansas Food Bank opened an 18,500 sq. ft. warehouse in Independence, doubling the food distributed to Southeast Kansas.
In 2004, the Kansas Food Bank took another significant step in serving children by launching the Food 4 Kids backpack program. Food 4 Kids is designed to fill in the weekend gap in existing feeding programs designed to serve children at the highest risk of chronic undernourishment. Specifically, Food 4 Kids provides emergency weekend food — distributed in zip-bags that can be slipped into children’s school backpacks — to kids who exhibit physical and behavioral signs of not otherwise eating on the days they are away from school meal programs. What began with 60 students in a few schools has grown into a program that now serves 6,100 children in 380 schools.
To reach under-served area of our state the Kansas Food Bank went mobile in 2011. Mobile pantries are deployed to reach under-served areas of our state that lack pantry infrastructure. Mobile pantries are simply a pantry on wheels. By operating mobile units, we can effectively and efficiently reach food insecure households in rural communities.
SNAP Outreach also started in 2011. Our outreach worker focuses on rural areas within our service area where Department of Children and Family Services does not have offices. We assist low income households with the application process so they may receive monthly food benefits.
A commitment to increase fresh produce distribution began in 2011. As food banking has evolved, so has the need for us to provide healthy, nutritious items. All too often, the first thing to get cut from budgets of cash strapped families is fresh produce. We are now providing over 2 million pound of fresh items throughout our distribution network. This allows families items that are better for them, lower in sugar, calories and sodium.
2012 marked the year that seniors who are too proud to seek assistance were reached with our latest program Bob Box. Bob Box is endorsed and sponsored by Senator Bob Dole, a name trusted by all Kansans. All too often, seniors will choose to go without food before asking for help. Bob Box has been instrumental in reaching those seniors. The program launched in Northwest KS and expanded to the Southwest area of our state a year later. We will expand the program into all 85 counties as we are able to grow the program.
In all, the Kansas Food Bank has the drive and passion to reach food insecure households whenever and wherever it is needed. We have built a complex distribution system to ensure we serve our hungry friends and neighbors.