A Day in the Life of a Food Shelf Order

September 12, 2022 By: Samantha Solberg - Communications Specialist Category: SHH News

warehouse largest distribution day June 2022Ever wonder how the healthy, donated food from our food bank gets to food shelves and agency partners across Minnesota and Western Wisconsin?

It takes a team, technology and transportation.

OUR TEAM first moves pallets of food we’ve received from food manufacturers, farmers and growers, and other sources out of trucks and into our Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, facility.

Another team oversees food safety, making sure everything from fresh bananas to boxes of cereal to cheeses and meat are stored in the right temperature-controlled environments.

A third team processes orders and prepares new pallets for specific food shelves. We check for new orders multiple times per day to ensure timely and accurate delivery to our many local partners.

OUR TECHNOLOGY lets us organize the millions of pounds of food that move through our food bank every year.

Our sophisticated inventory system catalogs every single food item, including its location and “use by” date. We use barcodes, lot numbers and other identifiers to track food across the entire emergency food chain.

The food shelves and agency partners we support use our order platform to request the type and quantity of food that hungry households in their service area need. They can see exactly what’s available—often just a few minutes after we unload it at our warehouse.

These orders feed into handheld scanners. These tools make it fast and easy for our fulfillment team to locate and pack the requested items from our warehouse. The software even organizes the order so heavy items get picked first for the bottom of the pallet.

OUR TRANSPORTATION uses a fleet of refrigerated trucks to deliver orders to food shelves, food pantries, schools, community centers and other agency partners in Minnesota and western Wisconsin. Our loaders start filling trucks at midnight, and our drivers arrive as early as 4:30 a.m. to start their routes.

It’s a complicated process, because many of our agency partners are volunteer-run and open only a few hours a week. We need to coordinate precise delivery windows and make sure the food we distribute is handled safely at every step of its journey.

We distribute food to our busiest locations multiple times each week, ensuring there’s plenty of healthy food for those in need.

Learn more about our food bank operations or volunteer for a packing shift.


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