Perdue Farms, through its Franklin P. and Arthur W. Perdue Foundation, has awarded a $8,000 grant to Helping Harvest Fresh Food Bank in Reading, Pa., for the purchase of a ride-on electric pallet jack. The donation aligns with the company’s “Delivering Hope To Our Neighbors™” initiative focused on providing access to nutritious protein for people struggling with hunger and making meaningful progress toward ending hunger.

The food bank distributes to more than 300 food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and after-school programs every year in Berks and Schuykill counties.

“As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Greater Berks Food Bank has seen the demand on its services skyrocket,” said Doug Long, the food bank’s director of development. “We are now distributing more than 1 million pounds of food a month, nearly double the monthly average from 2019. To keep up with demand, we have had to significantly increase our warehouse staff and equipment.”

The need for more staff is expected to continue well into the future. More equipment is needed to help the larger staff effectively and efficiently perform its duties.

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The ride-on pallet jack that we will purchase with these funds will be used to help our increased staff unload trucks, weigh pallets of food, store food, pull orders and load trucks,” Long said.

Kim Nechay, executive director of the Perdue Foundation, said, “Perdue Farms is pleased to provide financial assistance to Helping Harvest Fresh Food Bank during this difficult time. Helping it keep up with daily operations means the food bank is receiving and distributing the amount of food necessary to feed local families in need.”