Run a food pantry? Starting a soup kitchen? Feeding hungry people out of your church? We can help. We distribute food to over 300 partner agencies. Find out how to become one of them.
Partner agencies are food pantries, soup kitchens, and kids and senior programs that serve areas with the greatest need as determined by Feeding America and the U.S. Census. We consider additional partner agencies based on poverty statistics and avoid duplication or effort of services in an area.
Partner agencies order food and grocery products from the Food Bank, or host mobile pantry distributions, and provide these goods to their local communities for free. There are several steps in the application process: application, information session, inspection, approval and training. If you are interested in becoming a partner agency of the Food Bank, please review the requirements below.
Food Pantries are community-based, nonprofit food assistance programs most often found at churches, synagogues, mosques, and social service agencies. They provide a limited amount of food to individuals and families facing either food emergencies or ongoing food needs.
Food Pantries must:
• Be open a minimum of one time a week and operate at least 20 hours a month. In addition, all pantries must serve 35 or more households per month.
• Post signs that indicate both the presence of the food program and the days and hours of distribution.
• Be willing and able to provide food to those in need without requiring the recipient to pay, pray or work in order to eat or gain admission to the food distribution setting.
• Post a sign that states there is no fee or donation recommended or required to obtain food assistance.
• Adhere to all Food Bank policies as delineated in the Partnership Contract.
• Potential partners must be able to store perishable and dry food safely and securely on the premises of the agency.
On-Premises Programs serve food to low-income persons on-site at their facilities, such as childcare centers, shelters, and soup kitchens.
On-Premise Programs must:
• Provide a copy of DHR license, if applicable.
• Provide a copy of County Health Department Report, if applicable.
• Provide any Safe Food Handler’s certificate recognized by county.
• Provide proof of operating a food pantry or an on-premise feeding program at least 6 months prior to the date on the application.
• Have mealtimes that occur at least once a week.
• Be willing and able to provide food to those in need without requiring the recipient to pay, pray, or work in order to eat or gain admission to the food distribution setting.
• Have a stove with a hood (vent) to ensure proper air ventilation.
• Have an industrial dishwasher or a three-step dishwashing sink.
• Have a hand-washing sink separate from dishwashing sink.
• Have one dial stem thermometer to measure the temperatures of a refrigerator, frozen and re-heated hot foods.
• Adhere to all Food Bank policies as delineated in the Partnership Contract.
Potential partners should consider the funding requirements of maintaining the feeding program. The costs to run an effective and efficient pantry include shared maintenance fees, staffing, transportation, pest control, costs of photocopying, cleaning supplies, equipment costs, thermometers, storage containers, carts, etc.
Every feeding program requires dedicated staff or volunteers to run efficiently. Consider your current staff workload or available volunteers. The following tasks will need to be performed regularly: Shopping at FNEFL warehouse, stocking food on shelves or in refrigerator/ freezer units, assisting with client intake, maintaining record keeping requirements and reports, cleaning and maintaining the food pantry according to outlined food safety guidelines, attending meetings and trainings, etc.
Potential partners will need reliable and consistent transportation for collecting food. Vehicles used for food collection must be adequate in size and well-maintained to ensure the integrity of the food being transported.
Partner agencies must have internet access and the ability to communicate (receive and send emails, reporting, online ordering, etc.) easily and often via the internet. Partners are required to respond to FNEFL email communications and requests in a timely fashion.
In order to be considered for partnership with us, your agency must be designated a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt, public nonprofit organization by the Federal Government, or maintain status as a religious institution. An official copy of your organization’s 501(c)(3) determination letter must be submitted with your application. Further explanations will be required if the letter submitted with your application is under a different organization’s name, such as an explanation of affiliation. If you are a church or religious affiliate you may use this form in place of your 501(c)3 form.
No matter the type of food program, you are expected to serve individuals regardless of their race, color, ethnicity, national origin, ancestry, creed, religion, sexual orientation, physical appearance, disability status, age, pregnancy, or any group membership.
All partner agencies must post a sign that indicates both the presence of the food program and the days and hours of operation. This sign must be clearly visible to the public.
Agencies must also visibly publicize their presence and days and hours of operation in their community by distributing flyers or by listing their location, telephone number and days and hours of operation on social media, organization website, etc. We strongly encourage agencies to list with United Way’s 211 First Call For Help Line and consider other ways to publicize.
All partner agencies must have a pest control plan, a current contract with a licensed professional exterminator and an extermination logbook containing your contract and receipts for each visit. This must be available for review when a Food Bank representative visits your site. We recommend monthly exterminator visits although some sites may require more frequent visits.
• Read, initial, and sign the FNEFL Agency Agreement. Discuss the expectations and requirements with your entire team and leadership. It is crucial that your entire team works together as a unit to manage your food program properly and remain in compliance with the guidelines outlined in the Agency Agreement.
• Include a copy of a current Food Handler’s certificate that is held by a representative from your feeding program.
• Include a copy of your Federal 501(c)3 Designation Letter from the IRS. The IRS 501(c)3 letter is often confused with other forms or documents. This letter is directly from the IRS and clearly identifies your organization as a 501(c)3.
• If you are a church or religious organization that does not have a 501(c)3, please download and complete this form instead.
• Include proof of pest control services within the past month. This can be a copy of your most recent receipt, or a signed letter from the pest control company affirming that you receive routine services.
• Two letters of reference from a citizen or agency outside your organization.
If you meet the requirements above and compiled all the documents needed to apply, click the application button below. After your application is processed, a team member will contact you about the final two steps for partnership.
Initial Site Inspection of your facility: A representative from Feeding Northeast Florida will visit your site to see where you will store the food received from the Food Bank and verify that all proper food handling measures, record keeping procedures, and client registration processes are in order.
Complete a New Agency Training course: This course is a 1.5-hour course that teaches shopping rules, online ordering procedures, and reporting requirements. Partnership begins upon completion of this course.
Please remember that a submitted application does not guarantee partnership. Many variables go into the selection of new partner agencies and we reserve the right to prioritize placement based on criteria we have developed through continuing research, our established relationships within the service area, our partnership with Feeding America, and current community needs assessments. You are always welcome to contact us at any time if you have questions.
If you work in the food industry, please consider donating your overstocked, short dated or unused food. We distribute food and grocery products to over 300 partner agencies in eight counties across Northeast Florida. With strong support from our local food industry, we’re able to provide our partner agencies with more than 30 million pounds of food every year. For more information on becoming a food donor, please email us.
Our corporate partners are some of our biggest supporters. Not only in financial contributions and food donations, but in rolling up their sleeves and getting involved. Whether by group volunteering, sponsoring events or hosting their own food and fund drives, our corporate partners are critical to our success and the wellbeing of our community.