Building a Network to Meet the Need

Published on February 15, 2022
Loading a van with food at a GBFB cross dock
21 agencies receive their food from this New Bedford Cross Dock, reducing their travel time and increasing efficiency.

Efficiency is a priority of The Greater Boston Food Bank. Serving over 600 agencies with food, including many perishable items that require proper refrigeration, creates a substantial logistical puzzle. To reach more communities, GBFB uses Cross Docks and Shared Delivery Sites to get the job done.

Cross Docks enable our drivers to take food to a location with shipping docks, where agencies can pick up orders built and shipped from our main Boston location. Cross Docks are donated warehouse space in the community and serve approximately 125 agencies. We operate four Cross Docks across Eastern Massachusetts—New Bedford and Harwich serve the southeast, the Cape and the islands, and Framingham and Peabody help support the north and Metro West.

On the other hand, Shared Delivery Sites typically serve 3–4 agencies through one agency site that can accommodate a tractor trailer load. The host agency agrees to receive and distribute orders sent from the GBFB main warehouse. Shared Delivery Sites are in Salem, Plymouth, Walpole, Falmouth and the newest addition this fall in Weymouth, which began operations in October 2021.

Over the past year, GBFB numbers have skyrocketed. Shared Delivery Sites have surpassed 1.2 million pounds of food delivered, an increase of more than 750% from last year’s 140,000 pounds. Cross Dock sites total 8–9 million pounds of food on average every year.

Assistant Manager of Agency Relations, Michael Reaney, shared that these sites offer convenience, enabling agencies to order more food and ease the workload for both parties, freeing up resources to help more people in need. He continues, “Because space is donated, we rely on our network to ensure the 600,000 people GBFB serves can get the food they need.”

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