The Food Bank for Westchester this week rolled out its new custom-designed truck that will double the amount of food the agency can pick up at retail businesses.
Unveiled at a Wednesday ceremony at the hunger relief agency’s distribution center in Elmsford, the $90,000 truck was purchased with a grant from PepsiCo Inc. in Purchase. PepsiCo’s donation of more than $150,000 also will cover the cost of a driver for one year and ancillary costs, a Food Bank spokesman said.
Employees at four PepsiCo locations in Westchester recently held food drives at their respective sites and loaded the new truck with a variety of foods bound for the Food Bank’s distribution center.
Toby Pidgeon, the Food Bank’s operations director, said the 16-foot refrigerated truck is 10 feet shorter than other trucks in the agency’s fleet and can more easily navigate narrow streets and tight quarters at retail stops. It will be used to pick up food donated by retailers that include supermarkets and grocers, larger bakeries and specialty food stores.
“This truck truly is a game-changer for us,” Pidgeon said. The nonprofit’s retail recovery program provided 271,000 meals to the community in 2014. “With the PepsiCo truck we project we will be able to double that to 550,000 meals this year,” he said. The agency already has 30 pickups scheduled for the new truck, he said.
Retailers interested in participating in the food recycling program should contact Bob Silvia, food sourcing manager at the Food Bank, at 914- 909-9621.