b'Moving Fresh Food FastYour Donation ImprovesGetting fresh food to people in need quickly and efficiently, while eliminating food waste, are the two major components of The Greater Peoples Diets Boston Food Banks (GBFB) rapidly growing Retail Donation Program. The food that people get at The Greater Boston Food BankThe program accounts for over 13 percent of (GBFB) Mobile Markets is having a positive effect on theirGBFBs total distribution, and nearly half of livesaccording to those who are receiving it. whats distributed in the program is meat and fresh produce. Members of GBFBs Health and Research Team recently conducted surveys of people receiving food at GBFBs health center Mobile Markets. The survey was the first evaluation GBFB has done on its Mobile Markets from the participants perspective.GBFB operates free, monthly produce Mobile Markets in partnership with eight health centers in Eastern Massachusetts. Each household takes home 25 to 30 pounds of fruits and vegetables at each farmers market-style distribution. A GBFB partner agency picks up donated product at a local Target in Dorchester. GBFB approaches retailers to donate excess food that no longer meets their selling standards but is still highly nutritious and perfectly good food. We connect those retailers with nearby GBFB partner agencies that can pick up the donations. When an Patients like Solivert (left) and Millie (right) at the Charles River Health Centeragency makes a pickup, they take anywhere receive fresh vegetables and fruits at the monthly Mobile Market. from a few pounds to a few thousand pounds of donations, depending on their storage and There were 274 total respondents to the survey. Some of thedistribution capacity.key findings include:This year weve already distributed 7.2 million 44 percent of participants reported that most or all of theirpounds of food through the program, which is monthly produce comes from the GBFB Mobile Market.2.5 million pounds more than the same time last year. Were on pace to distribute 150 A majority of respondents (54 percent) said that they visitpercent more through the program this year a Mobile Market every month.than we did just three years ago. From a list of six possible benefits of the market, the mostA large part of that growth is due to the hard commonly reported benefits were increased fruit andwork of our GBFB Team Members. Three vegetable consumption (86 percent of respondents) andyears ago, GBFB dedicated two full-time Team saving money for non-food needs (85 percent). Members to oversee the program. Together, they steward relationships between dozens of Its nice to see that were really improving peoples diets, saidretail chains with more than 300 stores and Rachel Zack, GBFB senior manager of health and research.160 of our partner agencies.We hope this will set the baseline for future improvements toOur partner agencies love the program because our markets, so we can better serve those in need. they get a robust variety of food that grocery stores havesuch as prepared meals and highly perishable items like berriesthat we dont typically store in our warehouse, said Emily Yerby, GBFB manager of local donors.5'