Local food pantries brace for new fees as the cost of transportation and vehicle maintenance rise

Connecticut

WALLINGFORD Conn. (WTNH)– After 37 years, the Connecticut Food Bank is changing the cost of its annual membership fee and charging for deliveries.

This is a service and delivery fee that participating pantries must pay to the food bank.

Jamie Foster said with the cost of transportation and truck maintenance they have no choice.

“Last year, we spent about a quarter million dollars in truck maintenance and our fleet ranges from 10-13 years old for our trucks and vehicles and so we are just trying to find a way to make sure that our trucking force that our deliveries will allow us to continue to serve the people in need who need the food from us.”

– Jamie Foster, Chief Programs Officer with the CT Food Bank

Foster said another thing that’s hurting the CT Food Bank is a decrease in food donations.

“The cost of produce is going up and it is going to continue to go up and the quality of food produce that we get donated has declined,” added Foster.

Another thing that’s changed is the trend of giving to non-profits is down.

Foster told News 8, “As this is all happening, transportation costs have risen and we also see an increase in the cost of produce, which is the vast major of food that’s asked for by clients of our food pantries.”

The membership fee ranges from $25-$500 depending on the amount of food the Connecticut Food Bank supplies. The delivery fees are based on the weight off food per delivery. The maxim fee would be 100 dollars.

Sue Heald with Master’s Manna says the fees are just another hit to their operating budget.

“We are a stand alone pantry. We have rent, we have utilities. There are a few of us on payroll. We have insurance, we have maintenance,” said Heald.

Large food pantries like Master’s Manna in Wallingford don’t have the man power, the equipment, or the time to pick up food from the CT Food Bank.

Heald added, “We’ll have to look at our budget, see what our budget looks like and maybe we’ll have to write for some grants and our supporters to help off-set those fees.”

The new membership fee takes effect January 1st and the delivery fees will start in July.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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