Tyson grant to River Bend Foodbank

Tyson Foods presented a $135,380 grant Saturday to River Bend Foodbank for a racking optimization system. Pictured from left are: Tyson Food employees Sierra Watson, Kimberly Crane, Shurla Cullison, Monica Venneberg and Vicki Heyvaert along with Nancy Renkes of River Bend Foodbank.

A grant from Tyson Foods will enable River Bend Foodbank to stretch its storage space without expanding its warehouse footprint.  

Tyson Foods, with Quad-City area operations in Joslin, Ill., and Columbus Junction, Iowa, awarded a $135,280 grant for the acquisition of a new food racking system. The new racking will enable the food bank to fit more pallets per row in its Davenport warehouse, place its current racking closer together and expand racking capacity in its walk-in freezers.

River Bend President and CEO Michael Miller said the system will double the facility's usable storage space to help it accommodate an additional 1.3 million meals in our warehouse per year.

"We are currently distributing twice as much food as just four years ago, with the same amount of storage space," he said. "Optimizing our racking configuration will allow us to continue that growth toward our ultimate goal of ending hunger in eastern Iowa and western Illinois."

River Bend's goal is to provide 5.5 million meals by 2025 to fill the community's meal gap.

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The funding was among $1.8 million in hunger relief grants recently announced by Tyson Foods to address food insecurity in its communities. A total of 20 Feeding America member food banks and other hunger relief agencies across 14 states received grant funding from the Springdale, Ark.-based food company.  

"There are a variety of ways to effectively address hunger and in this case additional storage means more meals to more people," said Debra Vernon, Tyson's senior director, corporate social responsibility.

Representatives from Tyson Foods' Joslin Complex - Fresh Meats Division, including Community Liaison Kimberly Crane, presented the grant Saturday to River Bend. Tyson Foods' employees also volunteered at food bank to help fill backpacks it distributes to food insecure school children.  

Nancy Renkes, River Bend's vice president and chief partnerships officer, said this is the third major gift from Tyson Foods. Previous grants enabled the food bank to add a major gifts officer position and acquire a computerized mapping system to improve its truck routing.

The new racking system will be installed by the end of July. 

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