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Feeding America gets new refrigerated trailer truck from Schneider Foundation

Published: Dec. 10, 2020 at 5:17 PM CST
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APPLETON, Wis. (WBAY) - A recent donation to Feeding America will provide much-needed help during this pandemic. It also opens up more volunteer opportunities with a community partner.

“It’s a refrigerated trailer with a lift gate -- which is kind of a unicorn in the transportation world,” said Feeding America CEO and President Patti Habeck.

The 53-foot truck, donated by the Schneider Foundation, will allow Feeding America to meet increased demand during the pandemic. Demand is currently about four times more than normal for this time of year, according to Habeck, who notes they delivered about 800,000 pounds of food last week alone.

“This [truck] will hold 80,000 pounds. So, it’s very significant in size. There’s not a lot of transportation available, and so now this will allow us to move more of that, but more importantly to do it much faster,” said Habeck.

“We know the importance of stocking our local food pantries all the time, but especially now with the pandemic that need has just grown exponentially and we just wanted to help,” said LuEllen Oskey, Schneider Foundation director.

But the new addition will also expand volunteer opportunities with Fox Valley Technical College (FVTC).

“Fox Valley Tech is amazing,” said Habeck. “They have supported us throughout the pandemic.”

The college has provided volunteer commercial truck drivers from its program to help get products out to areas in need, something it’s done in years past.

“It’s a great thing to renew that relationship recently, especially now with the pandemic and being able to help out with their needs,” said Rob Behnke, chair of FVTC’s truck driving program.

Behnke says it’s a good training opportunity, they have the equipment, and it’s the least they can do.

“We’re just always constantly looking to help. We’re in the service industry, so we’re here to help and we’re here to serve,” said Behnke.

“Our drivers are unsung heroes. They have been making sure the product gets in and making sure the work gets done, and they don’t get a lot of recognition,” said Habeck. “So, an extra truck and having the ability to have volunteer drivers or partnership with FVTC means we can have much more food, much quicker.”

Habeck says these partnerships with Fox Valley Tech and Schneider will go a long way in this time of need.

“It’s important to our communities, and when we all wrap around people in need we’re able to do a much better job making sure that everyone has food to eat,” said Habeck.

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