Women Giving for Spartanburg, UnitedHealthcare, PAL Spartanburg and individual donors have raised funds for Ruth’s Gleanings and FoodShare Spartanburg to buy a 17-foot refrigerated box truck to distribute fresh produce to rural residents in need.
Ruth’s Gleanings is a nonprofit that is helps expand access to nutritional food to Spartanburg residents in partnership with FoodShare.
The new truck has the capacity to haul 500 FoodShare boxes, which in tandem with an existing 12-foot trailer will allow Ruth’s Gleanings to distribute 750 boxes to partner sites throughout the county.
With the hydraulic lift capability of the larger, refrigerated box truck, full pallets of food boxes can be loaded and unloaded efficiently at the dock level to save time and streamline operations, according to a news release.
"PAL is so excited to be able to support Ruth's Gleanings in strengthening our local food infrastructure with the purchase of this [truck] which will be used to distribute healthy food, much of it local, to residents in Spartanburg County,” Alissa Duncan, coalition and food system coordinator of PAL, said in the release.
“Being able to distribute more local food also means more business for local farmers and a more resilient food system. This fruitful partnership with Ruth's Gleanings helps PAL further our mission of advancing active living, promoting healthy living, and fostering health equity."
From 2019 to 2020, demand for the FoodShare program grew 230%, and the current trend indicates an increase of 135% in 2021. The new truck addition will help the nonprofits distribute 9,000 boxes of fresh food this year and even greater quantities in the near future.
“We are extremely thankful for the generosity shown to us through our loyal supporters who not only understand our operational needs but get involved in our programs,” Tonja Smith, founder and executive director of Ruth’s Gleanings. “Although we may be emerging from the pandemic, the exponential increase in demand for food boxes continues to grow and this new truck could not have arrived at a better time. We are grateful to have it and excited about expanding our ability to serve a larger community that needs fresh, nutritional food.”