The Difference Between a Food Bank and Table to Table
As a non-profit in NJ dedicated to food rescue, we are often asked to explain how we differ from a typical food bank. Clearly we are not the same. Allow us to explain….
Table to Table
Table to Table is unique because our sole focus is to pick up fresh and prepared excess food and deliver to places that feed the people in our neighborhood who are hungry. This nutritious food is so important because it not only satiates, but as importantly, it is instrumental in keeping people healthy.
Table to Table works by teaming up with giving partners like Whole Foods, Shoprite, A&P and Pathmark as well as local restaurants and food distributors including Driscoll, General Trading and Auerpak. Every day our refrigerated trucks pick up food that is still good, but that would otherwise be wasted at these businesses (likely due to risk of not selling in time) and we then deliver the food to our receiving partners. Some of these partners include Goodwill Rescue Mission, New Hope Baptist Church and Cresskill Food Pantry (for the full list, click here).
We also deliver this healthy food free of charge. Although some hunger relief agencies charge a fee, either for the food or its delivery, Table to Table does not. Food is picked up and delivered the day it is donated, avoiding the need for warehouse facilities and keeping Table to Table’s costs limited to the operation of the vehicles. And the best part? It enables agencies to use their meager food budget dollars for more of the essential services they alone provide. For example, with the money it saved by purchasing less food for their clients, a shelter in Paterson built a computer lab to train their returning Vets. With the money a senior center saved in Teaneck, they were able to build a wing of additional rooms to house eldercare clients. And an after-school program in Newark used its savings to purchase hundreds of books for their 7th & 8th graders. All while their recipients we’re receiving nutritious food like produce, whole grains and lean protein.
Lastly, by rescuing this excess nutritious food, we help to minimize the enormous amount of waste going into landfills.
Typically, food banks collect donated food either through food drives, delivered donations or donations that they physically pick up. That food, consisting primarily of canned goods and other non-perishable items, is stored in a facility and then ultimately gets distributed to various organizations. Although these packaged foods are a staple since they are a quick solution to alleviate hunger, they typically are not the best sources of the nutrient dense and vitamin rich foods that we all need in our diets.
Unlike Table to Table, many food banks throughout the country charge a fee to the receiving organizations.
In short, both types of organizations work diligently to feed the hungry men, women and children in their communities. Table to Table’s commitment is to be a consistent, reliable and free source of the fresh nutritious food we all so desperately need to be able to develop, grow, learn, work and stay productive and healthy.
For more information on how we do what we do, visit “how we do it”. If you know of an organization that would benefit, or your restaurant or store would like to donate to our food rescue program, contact us today. We enjoy and look forward to expanding our partners within the community.