NH Food Bank cutting fee of nine cents per pound to allow its partner agencies to make a bigger impact in their communities
Manchester, N.H. – The New Hampshire Food Bank will eliminate shared maintenance fees as of June 1, 2021, accomplishing a long-time goal that will save New Hampshire’s soup kitchens, food pantries, emergency shelters, family crisis centers and after school programs a combined $400,000 each year, allowing agencies to better focus on meeting their communities’ needs.
The New Hampshire Food Bank, like all Feeding America food banks, charges its partner agencies a per-pound fee to cover the cost of warehousing and distributing food, called shared maintenance fees. Feeding America sets the fee, which currently stands at 19 cents per pound, though the New Hampshire Food Bank has always charged less than the maximum and was most recently charging nine cents per pound. As the fee is assessed on a per pound basis, many agencies were paying approximately $500 per month on average in shared maintenance fees.
“Thanks to the extraordinary generosity of so many donors, we are beyond thrilled to permanently eliminate shared maintenance fees. We have been working toward this goal for years and we are extremely pleased to see it come to fruition,” said Eileen Liponis, Executive Director, New Hampshire Food Bank, a program of Catholic Charities New Hampshire. “Particularly as families and individuals have felt the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic over the past year, it is our hope removing shared maintenance fees will allow organizations to enhance operations, better serve those in need in their communities, and ultimately help us all move closer toward our goal of eliminating hunger in New Hampshire.”
The New Hampshire Food Bank efficiently delivers food to a network of more than 400 partner agencies located throughout New Hampshire. Partner agencies include food pantries, neighborhood centers, low-income housing sites, senior nutrition centers, family crisis centers, hospices, soup kitchens, emergency shelters, after school programs, and daycare centers. In 2017, the New Hampshire Food Bank received a $1 million anonymous donation, of which the New Hampshire Food Bank used $800,000 to reduce shared maintenance fees over a four-year period to nine cents per pound from 2017 to 2020.
New Hampshire Food Bank partner agencies from throughout New Hampshire voiced their support and gratitude for the elimination of the fee:
“We are so pleased the New Hampshire Food Bank is able to eliminate the shared maintenance fees. These savings will allow the Family Resource Center additional funds to provide families with telephone minutes, transportation and other necessities not currently funded within our programs,” said Lucie Remillard, Director of Administration at the Family Resource Center in Gorham.
“Families in Transition will be able to utilize the removal of this fee to help support our food programming, both internally, as well as at our food pantry that serves over 300 families every year,” said Maria Devlin, President and Chief Executive Officer of Families in Transition in Manchester. “This is a wonderful gift from the New Hampshire Food Bank that we will gratefully accept and we look forward to our continued partnership for years to come.”
“Eliminating the shared maintenance fees to participating agencies would be very beneficial to our agency,” said Bradley Eldrige of the Errol Community Food Pantry. “We are very rural and travel 30-plus miles for pick-up of food, which is an added cost. All of our funds to operate come from private donations, so this will be a great help.”
“We are grateful beyond measure for the donors who have made this possible,” said Melissa Baxter, Jill Iwicki, Lyn Kipp and Jenn Morton, who are Program Coordinators with End 68 Hours of Hunger in Nashua. “Our program already benefits tremendously from the huge discounted rate of just nine cents per pound, but we pick up nearly 4,000 pounds of food each week, so our bill was still more than $1,000 per month. Knowing that the shared maintenance fee has been eliminated and we will be able to pick up food from the New Hampshire Food Bank for free is incredible. Donors have made a huge impact on our program by allowing us to stretch our donated dollars further and decreasing our costs. We currently provide bags of non-perishable food to nearly 400 of Nashua’s children each week. Without the remarkable support of the New Hampshire Food Bank, our mission to end childhood hunger in Nashua would be much more difficult to achieve.”
“The Lancaster food pantry works on donations only and with everything going on, they have been slow in coming, so not having to pay the shared maintenance fees on our orders will help tremendously and I will be able to help feed more people,” said Donna Woods of the Lancaster Community Cupboard.
“Gather has always appreciated their partnership with the New Hampshire Food Bank, and never more so than this last year during the pandemic. With the end of shared maintenance fees, we will have the funds to be able to source even more food from local farms and distributors on the Seacoast. This will allow Gather to provide a larger variety of options to our members,” said Seneca Bernard, Associate Executive Director of Gather in Portsmouth.
“Ending the shared maintenance fee will make a major financial difference in our ability to impact food insecurity in our service area,” said Daisy Blaisdell, President of the Board of Directors of the Twin Rivers Interfaith Food Pantry in Franklin. “This move clearly conveys the New Hampshire Food Bank’s incredible respect and support for the efforts of its member agencies, as they strive to address the magnitude of need in this state. We are so grateful.”
“The Community Kitchen has known the removal of the shared maintenance fees has been a long-time goal of the New Hampshire Food Bank. The removal of a fee can only be a good thing for small, donation-funded nonprofits serving the food insecure of the state,” said Phoebe Bray, Executive Director of The Community Kitchen in Keene. “The Community Kitchen’s partnership with the New Hampshire Food Bank has been of great value to the organization and we look forward to working with them until every New Hampshire resident can provide healthy and nutritious food for themselves and their families.”
The elimination of shared maintenance fees comes at a critical time, as the need continues to grow in New Hampshire. During 2020, the New Hampshire Food Bank distributed more than 17 million pounds of food to its partner agencies statewide. This year, because of the growing demand, the New Hampshire Food Bank expects to continue increasing food distribution.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to take an economic toll, the New Hampshire Food Bank is encouraging individuals and businesses to make cash donations, which will allow the New Hampshire Food Bank to purchase food for statewide distribution. The New Hampshire Food Bank can turn every dollar donated into approximately two nutritious meals.
For more information and to donate, visit: www.nhfoodbank.org.
About the New Hampshire Food Bank
The New Hampshire Food Bank, a program of Catholic Charities New Hampshire, has been working to relieve hunger in the Granite State since 1984. According to Feeding America projections, approximately 131,590 Granite Staters could experience food insecurity in 2021, a 10-percent change due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Approximately 30,950 children are living in food insecure environments, which is an 11-percent change. In 2020, as the state’s only Food Bank, the New Hampshire Food Bank efficiently procured and distributed more than 17 million pounds of food to people in need through more than 400 non-profit registered agencies. Agencies include food pantries, neighborhood centers, low-income housing sites, senior nutrition centers, family crisis centers, hospices, soup kitchens, emergency shelters, after school programs, and daycare centers. For more information about the New Hampshire Food Bank, please visit www.nhfoodbank.org. Find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram.