The Imperial Valley Food Bank (IVFB) is an independent, non-profit charitable corporation which has been serving the communities of Imperial County since 1991 by helping to feed an average of over 20,000 hungry people each month.
While the food bank operates over a dozen food assistance-related programs, it's primary function is to resource, manage, store and allocate food to partner agencies throughout the county who directly serve residents in need. Imperial Valley Food Bank operates the following programs to achieve the goals stated in our mission:
USDA Commodities / Emergency Food Assistance Program (EFAP)
IVFB is the designated agency in Imperial County for receipt, warehousing, and distribution of USDA commodities. There are distribution sites throughoutImperial County. USDA commodities are distributed once a month to USDA member agencies. Each agency makes the food available to qualifying people in need-to families and individuals, young or old-we serve them all.
Emergency Food & Shelter Program
The local Emergency Food and Shelter Program has designated the Imperial Valley Food Bank as its agent to purchase food in bulk, to warehouse the food, and to distribute it to specific agencies. The Food Bank is able to maximize purchasing power by acquiring food at low rates and distributing it to the needy families, children, individuals and elderly.
Feeding America Shared Maintenance Program
The Second Harvest program allows IVFB to purchase food from regional food banks at a low cost. After a modest increase to help offset the costs of warehousing and handling the food, the goods are made available to other non-profit agencies for distribution to the food assistance recipients.
Imperial Valley Cares Food Box Program
Food Boxes are available once a month to all residents of Imperial County. There are no required income qualifications to participate in the Food Box program. The cost is $25, and the boxes contain a minimum of $40 worth of food.
Treasure Box Program
Similar to the Imperial Valley Cares program described above, Treasure Boxes are available once a month to all residents of Imperial County to help them stretch their grocery dollar. The cost is $35, and the boxes contain a minimum of $70 worth of frozen foods, most of which are protein-packed items that are usually very expensive at the grocery store.
Perishable Donation Partnership / Fresh Rescue Program
These programs were developed by Feeding America in partnership with major national grocery chains. Food products that are completely safe and healthy to eat, but for a variety reasons may no longer be suitable for retail sale, are donated to the food bank and provided to the food bank's partner agencies for distribution or preparation by soup kitchens and shelters.
Fresh Produce Program
In a fashion similar to the Perishable Donation Partnership, the food bank receives donations of locally grown and/or packed fresh produce that is completely safe and healthy to eat, but for a variety reasons may no longer be suitable for sale. The product is stored for a short time in one of the food bank's large walk-in refrigerator units until received by a partner agency for distribution to residents in need.
Under this program, we provide food in an ordinary backpack to disadvantaged school children. Each Friday they take them home filled with nutritious food so they will have something to eat over the weekend. The backpacks are returned to the classrooms each Monday, and refilled again at the end of the week.
IVFB Advocacy Team
Members of the community with a passion for helping the hungry may join are encouraged to use their voice to influence the decisions of our elected officials. Volunteer advocates are provided with information regarding pending legislation in both state and federal legislature affecting low-income residents, and are encouraged to contact elected officials via phone, mail, electronic communication, or in person, to support or discourage support of the bill in debate. Advocacy team members are also given helpful hints and training resources to help improve their effectiveness as anti-hunger advocates.
Food Stamp Outreach Program
We started a program in 2005 to help our clients access food stamps. We have assisted them in overcoming the many barriers they face, such as lack of clear communication, fear of imaging requirements, inconvenient food stamp office hours, fear regarding immigration status, and other misconceptions concerning eligibility.
Nutrition Outreach Program
IVFB has become an important arm of an ongoing "Nutrition Revolution." We present programs to elementary school children to teach the importance of proper nutrition. We play games with students to teach food safety, and have tasting sessions of fresh fruits and vegetables to introduce new items into a child's diet.